PCATI’s activities in the legal sphere focus on the violence of the security agencies – the Police, IDF, ISA and Prison Service – and above all, the impunity which the security apparatus provides to the perpetrators of this violence. For example, PCATI supervises the implementation of the 1999 High Court of Justice ruling (HCJ 5100/94 Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. Government of Israel and Israel Security Agency), which forbids the use of a variety of torture methods. This work includes visiting detention centers to take testimonies and affidavits from those held there.
PCATI documents incidents of the immoral and unlawful use of institutional violence such as the Police’s violent dispersion of protests, as well as the torture, ill-treatment and degrading treatment of detainees and prisoners. We petition the High Court of Justice on behalf of detainees to oppose the use of unlawful interrogation methods, degrading detention conditions, and all derogations of the rights of detainees, including incommunicado detention (preventing detainees from consulting an attorney and otherwise isolating them from the outside world).
PCATI also files petitions on other matters of principle, for example against the State of Israel’s targeted assassination policy, against the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and seeking the cancellation of a law which abuses detainees’ rights.
In addition, PCATI files complaints of torture, ill-treatment and cruel and degrading treatment both on behalf of individuals and as part of detailed, aggregated complaints on specific topics such as: painful shackling, the use of family members to apply psychological pressure against interrogees, and failure to address previously filed complaints.
As a social-change organization, PCATI works to increase public involvement in preventing institutional violence at protests, in interrogation rooms and anywhere else that torture and ill-treatment transpire. Therefore we publish testimonies and reports concerning the use of torture in interrogations and the rights of detainees and prisoners, among other relevant topics.
PCATI organizes symposiums, film screenings, exhibitions and other public events dealing with various human rights issues, and torture and ill-treatment in particular.
Along with other social-change organizations, PCATI connects with the public at a variety of events in order to clarify the importance of the struggle against torture and ill-treatment of all kinds.
PCATI has also built an education program drawing participants into a discussion about the use of torture in interrogations and educating them about the need to safeguard human rights.
Lobbying and legislative work
In order to pursue the integration and implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) into Israeli law, PCATI pushes for the passage of a law forbidding the use of torture in Israel.
PCATI promotes laws and regulations safeguarding detainee and prisoner rights in Israel along with other human rights.
In parallel, PCATI also works to prevent the passage of legislation limiting human rights, especially the rights of detainees and prisoners, such as legislation permitting the use of “special authorizations” which enable torture.
We encourage the governments of Israel to fully implement international conventions regarding the treatment of detainees and prisoners and to enact the legislative and governmental measures these conventions demand, including:
Enshrine in law an absolute prohibition against torture as defined in the UN CAT. Forbid under law all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Pass legislation preventing those guilty of torture and ill-treatment from utilizing the “necessity” or “justification” defenses.
Invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Israel, grant him access to all detention and interrogation facilities and allow him to speak freely with any detainee he chooses.
Join the Optional Protocol to CAT to make possible the non-partial oversight of what happens in detention facilities, including the conditions under which prisoners and detainees are held.
Order the ISA to immediately cease its use of all methods of torture and ill-treatment in favor of the methods of a “reasonable interrogation” as defined in the High Court of Justice ruling.
Do away with the position of the ISA’s Inspector of Interrogee Complaints (IIC) at the Justice Department and replace it with a non-partial authority representing the rule of law which can investigate ISA interrogees’ complaints of torture free of any conflict of interest
Set clear guidelines within the IDF for the treatment of detainees from the moment of their arrest until their transfer to the detention and interrogation authorities.
Ensure that detainees and prisoners enjoy all their rights within prisons and detention centers.
Enhance the effective independence of Police Investigations Division investigators and provide them with sufficient resources to guarantee professional and non-partial investigations into complaints of police brutality against civilians.
PCATI keeps thorough documentation of affidavits, testimonies, studies, books and other media detailing the use of torture in interrogation and with detainee and prisoner rights.
Reports and policy papers including this information are published by PCATI. Further information can be found in PCATI’s library and is freely available upon request. Researchers, students, journalists and policy-makers in Israel and worldwide make use of these resources.