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From Ha'aretz, November 9, 1999
New laws to ban use of torture
Violators could face up to 20 years in jail
By Gideon Alon,
The Justice Ministry yesterday distributed a summary of draft legislation that would
amend the criminal code by banning the use of torture and punishing violators with
10 to 20 years prison sentences. The draft also calls for punishing public servants
who conspire to remain silent about torture to three years in prison.
The draft legislation, distributed to ministries and university law departments, is
intended to implement the recommendations of a committee which concluded in
July 1995 that an article should be added to Israel's criminal law to explicitly ban
The committee said such a move was necessary to assure Israel's legal system was in
compliance with an international convention against torture and inhuman treatment
which Israel signed in 1986 and ratified in 1991.
The draft legislations states: "A public servant or anyone operating on behalf of the
public, who tortures a person or allows torture, either explicitly or by implication...
shall be punished with a sentence of 10 years. If serious injury results from the
torture, the sentence shall be 20 years."
The legislation would ban torture to obtain information, to get a confession, to
frighten a person, or to force him to commit an act or prevent him from committing
an act.
An additional article in the draft legislation deals with "failure to prevent crimes"
and aims to punish those who remain silent in the face of torture. This article is also
intended to fulfill provisions in the international convention aimed at avoiding a
conspiracy of silence about torture.
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