(JNi.media) The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday approved the extension by a year of a temporary order that allows interrogators to delay bringing a suspect in a security-related crime before a judge for 96 hours. The order further authorizes the court to extend a suspect’s remand in absentia.
The remand or detention of a suspect is the process of keeping a person who has been arrested in custody, prior to a trial, conviction or sentencing. The word “remand” is used generally in common law jurisdictions to describe pre-trial detention The pre-charge detention period is the period of time during which an individual can be held and questioned by police, prior to being charged with an offense.
The prohibition of prolonged detention without charge, habeas corpus, was first introduced in England about a century after Magna Carta.
Israel, which sadly does not have a Magna Carta, is currently debating the arrest without charges, remand in absentia and prevention of seeing an attorney in the case of at least three Jewish suspects in the Duma Village arson investigation. In that case the suspects’ incarceration is entering its fourth week in incognito detention.
The existing law allows authorities, under certain circumstances, to delay a suspect’s arraignment, to keep a security-related suspect in custody for a longer period of time than a suspect in another type of crime, to hold hearings in absentia and to limit the suspect’s freedom to appeal court decisions regarding his or her arrest. In addition, the law requires the security bodies that make use of these freedoms to file a biannual report indicating how often this law was implemented.
Deputy Attorney General Raz Nazri said statistics indicate that the Shin Bet (General Security Service) is making use of the temporary order in a “logical and restrained” manner. In 2014, Nazri told the committee, the law was used in cases involving only 23 of 200 relevant detainees, “a relatively high figure compared with previous years.” This year has seen a significant reduction in the use of the law, Nazri said. “The law’s clauses were implemented this year in cases that involved only seven of 341 relevant detainees. The Shin Bet is using this special tool only to prevent the loss of life,” he argued.
In the spirit of Israel being “light unto the nations,” Nazri told the committee that countries around the world “want learn about our use of the anti-terror law.”
Addressing the investigation involving the Jewish suspects, Nazri said “there are no interrogations in the dark; the Shin Bet is not hiding anyone. All of the actions are being accompanied by the attorney general.” He admitted that in this case “irregular measures have indeed been taken, and clauses of the discussed law have been implemented.” In response to a question by MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism), he said the suspects “have been allowed to put on Teffillin (phylacteries) and light [Hanukkah] candles. I personally spoke with the administrator at the facility in which they are being held. Terror is terror. There is no terror law for Arabs and a terror law for Jews. To our regret, there is also severe Jewish terror which sometimes justifies the use of these tools.”
Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) refused to extend the temporary order by two years, as was initially requested. The committee unanimously approved its extension by one year. Addressing the Duma affair, Slomiansky said “if I will learn that there have been deviations from the law, I will hold a special meeting on the issue.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud) said “Jewish terror should be treated like terror, but we must remember that we are facing jihadist Muslim terror.”