'Administrative detention periods for minors to be reduced'

Says deputy AG Nizri during discussion on Anti-Terrorism Law, dealing with restraining orders and administrative detentions inside Israel.

Mordechai Sones,

Attorney Raz Nizri
Attorney Raz Nizri
Justice Ministry

The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee continued today (Tuesday) to prepare the second part of the counter-terrorism bill which deals with to restraining orders and administrative detentions in the territory of the State of Israel.

According to the bill, authority to order administrative detention will be set as a permanent arrangement, independent of a state of emergency. In addition, the Defense Minister will have the power to order administrative restrictions on security grounds (such as restrictions on movement, possession of objects, contact with certain persons, etc.).

A considerable part of the discussion dealt with the question of the person who decides to issue an administrative detention order.

Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomianski (Jewish Home) said, "We must follow a measured path between protecting the rights of the individual and his freedoms and protecting the security of the state and its residents."

Slomianski proposed increasing supervision of the issue by reporting to a secret committee jointly with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He repeated his proposal to create a group of 4-5 lawyers "who would agree to disengage from private representation of people and become the highest ranking lawyers in the system, who would be able to receive all the material and create a more in-depth discussion with the judge," he said.

MK Benny Begin (Likud) asked how much time passes between the initiation of administrative detention after the Shin Bet collects facts and formulates its position until its execution and said that he would not want to narrow the circle of approvers. He added that "the defense minister is supposed to deal with external threats to the state, and here we are talking about internal threats, so I am reluctant for there to be too much involvement in considerations called by the name 'security'."

The legal adviser to the committee, attorney Gur Blay, repeated MK Smotrich's proposal that an administrative detention order be issued by a court and not by the defense minister. "Even today, the district judge is an inherent part of the procedure because the order is brought for his approval within 48 hours. The claim that this makes the court responsible for security is not correct just as in criminal detention, where the police bring the request to a judge, and that does not make him responsible for internal security."

Attorney Yitzhak Bam of the Legal Forum for Israel, said, "In democratic countries, it is customary that the one who can severely harm the liberty of the individual is the court and not anyone else. When it comes to preventive detention, the only guarantee that a citizen can have is the judge. I do not understand the fear of judge's involvement in detention. Bring all the accumulated material to the judge who will sign it as in criminal custody. This is the lesser evil."

Dan Yakir, Legal Adviser for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, added: "There is no validity to the decision without a judge. His job is to be an investigating judge and make a new decision. As we heard, the defense minister is a rubber stamp when even the head of the Shin Bet does not sit together with him. It's a kind of ceremony."

After that, Deputy Attorney General Nizri said, "In principle, there is a valid point in the matter, and we are ready to examine the shortcut, but we should note that when it comes to a district president, we are talking about a lesser number of judges but we will check with the court management." He also announced that he had made a decision in principle that "minors will receive shortened administrative detention periods."




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