Supreme court demands details on "Israel's Guantanamo"
Mideast - AFP Mon Dec 1, 4:10 PM ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) - The supreme court demanded the government explain why it refuses to divulge the location of a secret prison the local press has dubbed "Israel's Guantanamo Bay," court sources said.
The court gave the government 45 days to justify the heavy secrecy surrounding the prison known only as Facility 1391 and believed to hold "high-risk" Palestinian and Arab prisoners, the sources said.
The government only admitted its existence several months ago after revelations in the Israeli media and pressure from the courts.
Its location has never been made public, no one knows how many inmates are being held there, nor their nationalities nor identities. Nor is anyone allowed, including the Red Cross, to inspect its conditions.
The press has dubbed it "Israel's Guantanamo Bay" after the US naval base in Cuba where Washington has controversially detained hundreds of Al-Qaeda and Taliban captives in its "war on terror."
An Israeli human rights group, Hamoked, petitioned the supreme court to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the facility and its prisoners.
"It is unacceptable that the detainees be placed for prolonged periods in a secret location, without anyone being able to visit them, not parents, not lawyers, not representatives of the Red Cross," the group's lawyer, Lea Tsemel, told AFP.
Israeli army lawyers countered that the prison was not secret, but located "on a military base" closed to visitors, making it illegal to reveal its whereabouts.
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