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21.5.2009

HaMoked petitioned against the Israel Prison Service's policy of not responding to applications by former prisoners who seek to visit family members incarcerated in Israel: This policy is in contravention of both the Prisons Ordinance and the ruling of the HCJ

On 19 April 2009, HaMoked submitted a petition, concerning the IPS' failure to respond to an application. The petition was submitted on behalf of a Palestinian seeking to visit his father who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison. The petitioner is a former prisoner who was last arrested in 1994. In the past 8 years, the son visited his father without any difficulties. He last visited in September 2008. The petitioner tried to visit his father again in December, but was met with the IPS' refusal, on the claim that as a former prisoner he is prohibited from entering the prison, despite the fact he had never encountered such a refusal in the past.

HaMoked appealed to the IPS with a demand to remove the prohibition, but the IPS did not respond, despite the fact that according to the Prisons Ordinance, such an appeal must be answered within 14 days. HaMoked sent several reminders in this regard to the IPS, and on 5 February 2009, a response was obtained from the prisoners’ officer of Gilboa Prison - where the father is incarcerated - stating the request was being considered and would be transferred to the authorized officials for a final response. Three and a half months after the application was submitted, the petitioner was still awaiting the IPS' response. Therefore, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ on his behalf.

In the petition, the petitioners stress that the IPS' failure to respond to applications seeking the cancellation of a prohibition on visits by a former prisoners - Palestinians who were incarcerated in Israeli prisons in the past - is a gross violation of the rules of proper governance, as well as a judgment recently given in HCJ 5154/06, which established that the IPS must give a decision on applications for visits submitted by former prisoners within 14 days of the applications' submission. Additionally, by adopting a policy of non-response to the applications of former prisoners seeking to visit their loved ones in Israeli prisons, the IPS is violating the rights of detainees, prisoners, and their families to prison visits as well as to family life – rights to which they are entitled under both international humanitarian and Israeli law. The petitioners demand that the Court instruct the IPS to provide a response to applications and charge the IPS with the costs of the petition.

To view the petition dated 19 April 2009 (Hebrew)

To view the judgment dated 12 March 2009 (Hebrew)

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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