Both Israeli and international jurisprudence recognize a detainee’s right to meet and consult an attorney of his or her choice as a fundamental right deriving from every individual’s basic right to freedom and due process of law. In Israel this right is protected under the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom”. In the Palestinian Occupied Territories, too, the military regime has recognized the detainee’s right to meet an attorney, establishing it in the “Order Regarding Security Provisions (No. 1) 378.”
The responsible authorities may prevent a detainee from meeting his or her attorney only under limited circumstances: an emergency or extraordinary case wherein the potential damage and harm which may be caused by consultation with the attorney justifies this denial. And yet the findings of human rights organizations over the years shows that the right to meet an attorney is systematically denied to Palestinian detainees residing in the Occupied Territories interrogated by the ISA.
The study first focuses its efforts on estimating the numerical scope of the ISA’s use of its authority to prevent meetings between Palestinian detainees and their attorneys during the years in question (2005-2007), and since October 2000 overall. The second portion aggregates information on the duration of this incommunicado holding, the vulnerability of incommunicado detainees to violence, ill-treatment and/or torture during their interrogation, and the impact of isolation and lack of legal consultation on the interrogees’ conduct vis-à-vis their interrogators.
Finally the study examines the effectiveness of an accepted means of judicial intervention seeking cancellation of the prevention from meeting an attorney – “pre-petition briefings” filed with the HCJ Department at the State Attorney’s Office, and petitions filed with the HCJ itself.