Security Prisoner
Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee

HaMoked is petitioning the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to permit a Palestinian resident of the West Bank to visit his brother in prison without being forced each time to prove his family relationship: Despite the fact that the petitioner’s applications have been approved in the past, the information is not detailed on the computer system, and each time the military refuses to allow the brothers to meet, claiming that they are not related

Following a petition submitted by HaMoked (HCJ 11198/02), family visits to prisoners are now permitted from all districts of the West Bank. The visits are organized by the international Red Cross, which receives the application for a visit and forwards it to the military. The Red Cross organizes the transport and provides guarding during the visit. If there is no security prevention, an authorization is provided for three months in the framework of the Red Cross visits. 

On 11 April 2007, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ on behalf of a Palestinian resident of the West Bank who wishes to visit his brother, who is being held in prison in Israel. The petitioner and his brother are orphans, and their grandparents are also no longer alive. The imprisoned brother is unmarried, and his brother is the only relative permitted to visit him. The petitioner’s application went unanswered for over eighteen months. After HaMoked intervened, however, he received a permit, and this was duly renewed after three months. After the latter permit expired, the petitioner’s repeat application was rejected on the grounds that he had not proven any relationship to his imprisoned brother. HaMoked again contacted the Legal Advisor for the West Bank and demanded that the petitioner be granted a visit permit, and the application was approved. Three months later the process was repeated – the application was again rejected, on the same grounds – the supposed absence of a family relationship. Such behavior is clearly not the product of a technical error, but reflects the dismissive and negligent manner in which the staff in the Office of the Legal Advisor for the West Bank process the applications they receive. On 18 March 2007, HaMoked again contacted the office, demanding the petitioner be enabled to visit his brother in prison on a regular basis and that the family relationship be noted in the computer system. 

This is not an isolated case. On 25 March 2007, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ in a similar case in which a Palestinian woman applied to visit her partner, who is imprisoned in Israel. Two of the three children of the petitioner and her partner died of meningitis; apart from herself and her five-year old son, her partner has no visitors. The respondent refused to approve the application for a visit despite repeated requests by HaMoked, claiming that it was doubtful whether she is in fact married to her husband since her family name in the marriage contract differs from her name in her identity card. On 23 February 2006, HaMoked contacted the Office of the Legal Advisor for the West Bank and explained that it is common practice that the marriage contract states the woman’s maiden name, and only after a new identity card is issued after the marriage does the full new name appear. The petitioner’s application was eventually approved and she received a permit for three months. Now, however, this period has expired and the respondent is again ignoring her requests to renew the permit. 

The military infringes the right of prisoners to a family life, to dignity, and to receive visits in prison. The right to prison visits is a basic one, reflecting the belief that while prison walls restrict a person’s movement, imprisonment is not intended to negate the prisoner’s dignity or to remove his basic rights. This right is embodied in a long series of conventions and international legal agreements, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that “Every internee shall be allowed to receive visitors, especially near relatives, at regular intervals and as frequently as possible.” Through its behavior the respondent is also violating its administrative obligations; it bears an obligation to process applications fairly, reasonably, and with due speed. Indeed, it has been established in the past that the respondent bears an active obligation to ensure the rights of Palestinian residents of the Territories who wish to visit their loved ones. This further aggravates the severity of the military’s behavior. 

Read the petition in the case of the brothers dated 11 April 2007 (Hebrew) 

Read HaMoked’s letter in the case of the brothers dated 18 March 2007 (Hebrew) 

Read the petition in the case of the couple dated 25 March 2007 (Hebrew) 

Read HaMoked’s letter in the case of the couple dated 23 February 2006 (Hebrew) 

Read HaMoked’s petition – HCJ 11198/02 (Hebrew) (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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