ACRI, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has released information of all of its efforts in 2010 and 2011, and in the past few days, to narrow the “gag order” concerning the detention of Prisoner X. Here is ACRI’s account, which is also posted on its website here:
“On 13 May, 2010, the Ynet website published an article about Prisoner X, who according the report was being held in solitary confinement in a cell at the Ayalon Prison. Shortly after the story broke, the article was removed from the website. Following this revelation, Dan Yakir, ACRI’s Chief Legal Counsel, wrote to the Attorney General and expressed concern about the article’s claim that a detainee was being held in isolation from the outside world in violation of his fundamental rights. He further noted that undisclosed detentions and secret trials contradict the basic tenets of a democratic country and damages the right of the public to know. The appeal to the Attorney General was made six months prior to the detainee’s death.
Attorney Raz Nizri, who was then a senior assistant to the Attorney General (now the Deputy Attorney General), responded on July 13, 2010, explaining that a gag order had been applied to the affair by the Central District Court on March 4, 2010. It was evident from his letter that the media were not informed of the gag order at the time, but only two-and-a-half months later when Ynet published the story. A clarifying decision was issued over a month later, under which the gag order applied to the conditions of the detention, including details of the cell where the prisoner was being detained. The letter further clarified that the Attorney General and other relevant supervisory bodies were ensuring that all individual rights were being upheld according to the provisions of the law.
The gag order was particularly broad: it included a prohibition against publishing the fact that a gag order had been issued, and even prohibited publishing information on the affair based on information gained from foreign sources.
On December 15, 2010, Prisoner X was found dead in his cell.