Supreme Court: Force-feeding law is constitutional

Judges reject petition against law that allows force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners, even if motives are security-related.

Shlomo Piotrokovsky,

Judge Elyakim Rubinstein
Judge Elyakim Rubinstein
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Supreme Court Judges Elyakim Rubinstein (Vice President of the Supreme Court), Noam Solberg, and Meni Mazuz rejected a petition against the force-feeding law voted into law a year ago.

The judges ruled that the law that was passed as an addendum to prison laws, and is intended to prevent damage to the health of prisoners who go on hunger strikes, passes judicial muster.

In the decision, the judges write that the section of the law which allows for force-feeding even when the motives for doing so are security-related, rather than humanitarian, is also constitutional, though it must be used only sparingly and in extreme cases.

Justice Rubinstein wrote in the main opinion in the decision that there are many countries around the world that allow the force-feeding of prisoners who go on hunger strikes, even if only in extreme cases. These countries include France, the US, Australia, Germany, and Austria, according to Justice Rubinstein.

He also mentioned that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that force-feeding of prisoners is permitted, provided a series of conditions meant to minimize the humiliation of the prisoner are met.

Judge Mazuz had wanted to include a provision that requests to force-feed a prisoner for security-related reasons be debated according to different standards than requests to force-feed a prisoner for health reasons, but Rubinstein and Solberg rejected his proposal.




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