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Ben-Gurion University
BGU Ishai Menuchin - Secret Prisoners, Missing Prisoners: Professorial Word Games

Dept. of Politics and Government
Email: menuchin@gmail.com

Editorial Note: 
Ishai Menuchin (BGU) is a high profile radical activist. He served as a spokesman for Yesh Gvul; subsequently he became the CEO of The Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PACTI).   
Menuchin is among of radical faculty who advocate universal justice, that is the notion that any number of countries should be able to try Israelis for "war crimes."  According to NGO Monitor, PACTI submitted briefs on this issue in Spain and other European countries. 

Menuchin teaches at BGU a class entitled "Direct Democracy - Roots and the Development of the Democratic Idea." 

Lately Menuchin has been busy exploring the issue of "secret prisoners."  As always, he is a welcome presence on Arab websites as the article bellow indicates.  In response to an IAM inquiry, Menuchin stated that his words were distorted, but added that he knows of some Palestinian prisoners who are not fully accounted for.

Al Manar, Lebanon

Secret Israeli Detention Camps File Reopened
Local Editor

The latest unveiling of a secret Zionist prison, which even Israeli ministers are prevented from entering, has posed different question marks on the destinies of Palestinian, Arab, and even Western abductees.

Coordinator of the “National Campaign to Return the Martyrs’ Bodies”, Salem Khalle indicated that “Israeli professor Ishai Menuchin, Head of the Public Committee for Opposing torture in Israel, had said there were secret prisons in Israel, which contain Palestinian abductees that no one knows anything about.”

“We have documents about 64 missing Palestinian citizens,” he told Al-Manar correspondent.

This urged Palestinian rights groups to request the Red Cross and international rights organizations to pressure the occupation to open these prisons, in which serious crimes might be taking place, like the case is in 1391 prison.

In parallel, Director-General of the Palestinian organization Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, pointed out that “Israel used this place to imprison some detainees and Lebanese abductees, and we don’t know who else is there.”

Jabarin told Al-Manar that “legally, secret prisons, and the absence of a specified location for the detainee is considered a crime.”

For its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners revealed that everyone who entered prison 1391 was exposed to severe torturing.

Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqea, told Al-Manar that “this prison is one of the investigation centers that lawyers and the International Red Cross did not know about. Detainees used to be dragged to this prison, especially during Al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising). This prison is considered a monstrous jail, in which investigation is very harsh. It was part of the terrorism applied on the Palestinian prisoner in order to extract confessions.”

From here, the story of Israeli agent Ben Zygier had reopened the file of secret prisons in the Zionist entity, especially as this entity has a number of secret jails, as well as secret graveyards for martyrs, which it could also be renting to international intelligence, according to experts.

Source: Al Manar TV                               13-04-2013 - 13:55 Last updated 13-04-2013 - 14:25


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ishai Menuchin <menuchin@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 10:11 AM
Subject: Re: Dear Dr. Ishai Menuchin

I have never said that "there were secret prisons in Israel, which contain Palestinian abductees that no one knows anything about". I said that we know of other cases of Palestinian prisoners that we, and others, are legally prohibited from publicizing. 
Military prison no. 1391 was a secret, but now it is not - you can read about it in Wikipedia.
You can read about Incommunicado detention in our publication - http://www.stoptorture.org.il/en/node/1659 



Over the last year PCATI participated in a significant number of international activities and conferences. In June, Dr. Ishai Menuchin testified before the European Parliament on the subject of human rights defenders. The UN Human Rights Commission heard a presentation on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This presentation was given in the context of interrogee, detainee and prisoner rights, as part of a session in Geneva this July dedicated to a discussion of the report on the State of Israel. The presentation was given by the director of PCATI’s Legal Department, Atty. Bana Shoughry-Badarne, who also represented PCATI at an international conference held in Uganda in June to mark the ten year anniversary of the formation of the International Criminal Court, to which PCATI was the only Israeli human rights organization invited. Louis Frankenthaler, Development and International Outreach Director, participated in lobbying meetings in Rome, Brussels and Paris. PCATI also participated in the general assembly of the International Federation for Human Rights which took place in Armenia, in a working group of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network in London and in Rome, in discussions of the UN Human Rights Committee, and more. PCATI continues to cooperate with international organizations and partners, including ASF,EMHRN and FIDH.

European Parliament

Public letter to PCATI's friends from Ishai Menuchin on the attack on human rights NGOs in Israel:
(Available at http://www.stoptorture.org.il/en/node/1547)
Dear Friends,
As you may be aware, the Israeli public debate has recently been filled with loud and bitter attacks against the human rights community, emanating from voices in the extreme right and spearheaded by “Im Tirtzu” and other organizations that enjoy the backing of ourright-wing government and parliament members. The right wing of the Israeli political map and its supporters are aiming their campaigns at the backbone of Israeli democracy, attempting to silence dissent and stifle Israel’s human rights and civil society 
organizations, through vitriolic and highly personal attacks. It is an ongoing, ultranationalistic campaign, in which the latest and most alarming step is a law proposal introduced in the parliament to outlaw key human rights organizations in Israel. A joint response by the Human Rights Community can be found here.
In addition to these developments, the human rights community is under regular assault by organizations such as “NGO Monitor” and many of us who are both lecturers and human rights activists are directly targeted by “Israel Academia Monitor”. We would like to believe that the efforts of such organizations constitute nothing more than the normal give and take of democratic discourse and deliberation but it seems that they have gone beyond and enlisted Israel's legislature, with Government support, to begin to attack human rights with legislation meant to chill and stall human rights advocacy that is critical of Israeli policy. For example in December 2009, NGO Monitor, together with the “Institute for Zionist Strategies”, held a conference in the Knesset, “Foreign Government Funding for NGO Political Activity in Israel” in order to attack the human rights community. Not long after the conference a law proposal was introduced that would drastically change the status of such organizations, thus affecting our position as civil society organizations and ultimately taxing our donations. Effectively, under the false guise of transparency they would legislate human rights advocacy out of existence. A chilling thought at the very least. Of course there is no such initiative being directed at the countless number of pro-occupation organizations, settler associations who, over the decades have spent vast amounts of public funds to trample the rights of Palestinians, thwart peace and scuttle democracy. 
In a recently issued report, a pseudo exposé of Israel’s human rights community, Im Tirtzu directs its attacks at a few key organizations and individuals, among them PCATI and, on an individual level, me. The report incites against human rights organizationsconnected with bringing prosecutions against Israeli officers and politicians in foreign jurisdictions. Im Tirtzu’s message, which I answered in a recently published article in the Israeli daily Maariv, is one of hatred and incitement rather than the presentation of anopposing argument to our position, and brings to mind the darkest days before Rabin's assassination.
Our community cannot be more transparent. Our agendas, financial records and donors are clearly available and never hidden. Our strength is in our efforts to work democratically. In fact, the recent attacks on PCATI reflect the fact that we take a stand at the forefront of the struggle for human rights, justice and democracy.
As human rights defenders in Israel, we are accustomed to operating in a hostile environment. However, we consider the current political climate and the attacks levelled against PCATI and its allies in the fight for justice to be unprecedented. They pose a serious and immediate threat, to the goal of a lasting and sustainable peace in the region, and indeed to our very democracy. A cause of grave concern is what seems to be the growing support that these anti-democratic voices garner among Israelis. This week, 
Haaretz reported on a new survey according to which: "more than half of Jewish Israelis think human rights organizations that expose immoral behavior by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely, and think there is too much freedom of expression here…."
These challenges are adding urgency to PCATI's efforts.
At this difficult time, we turn to you for your support in our efforts to push back against the anti-democratic forces we confront. We would be most grateful if you could contact the Israeli Ambassador in your capital in order to register your alarm.
Similarly, with your support we plan to respond this onslaught. We intend to continue to take action in the public sphere, and launch a campaign to address the issues of impunity, international advocacy and human rights dialogue in Israel.
Dr. Ishai Menuchin
Executive Director Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
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