PA Outlines Legal Case against Israeli Prison DNA Tests

The Palestinian Authority detainees ministry said Sunday it considers Israel’s use of DNA tests on Palestinian prisoners as a violation of international law, and will argue so in a case at Israel’s high court.

PA lawyers have filed a complaint with Israel’s Supreme Court to demand the end of forced DNA tests for Palestinians jailed by Israel.

A report released by the ministry on Sunday outlined the basis of the complaint. Palestinian prisoners should not be included in a 2011 Israeli legal amendment which permits DNA tests on criminal detainees on specific grounds, as under international law they should be treated as political detainees, the report says.

Further, international conventions state prisoners must be asked and express consent for DNA testing, but Israeli doctors have taken samples from Palestinian detainees without informing them of their purpose, the ministry said.

The report quoted the UN General Assembly’s resolution 37/194 on Principles of Medical Ethics: "It is a contravention of medical ethics for health personnel, particularly physicians to be involved in any professional relationship with prisoners or detainees the purpose of which is not solely evaluate, protect or improve their physical and mental health."

It also refers to Article 13 of the 1949 Third Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners of war, citing: "Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention."

Israel approved a new law in July 2011 to collect prisoner’s DNA samples for a police database, Israeli media reported at the time. The regulations include detainees from the West Bank, and the information can be transferred to army and intelligence services, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

There are some 4,489 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, according to latest figures by prisoners rights group Addameer.

(Ma’an News)

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