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HaMoked to State Attorney's Office: The ban on family visits of Palestinian prisoners identified with Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Liberation Organizations should be immediately lifted

On June 15, 2014, shortly after the abduction of the three Israelis, Israel has totally stopped visits by family members from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) of their loved ones who are incarcerated in Israel. When the visits were resumed, on July 13, 2014, HaMoked was informed that only prisoners who were identified with the Fatah organization received visitors; a punitive visit ban was apparently imposed on prisoners identified with Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Liberation Organizations. HaMoked's letter to the State Attorney's Office, in which it demanded that the latter took action to lift the ban which was imposed on family visits, did not receive a pertinent response.
It should be noted that already on June 18, 2014, HaMoked wrote to the Minister of Public Security, and provided him with a legal opinion concerning the proposal – which was raised following the abduction incident – to worsen the conditions of incarceration for Palestinian inmates identified with Hamas organization. HaMoked argued, among other things, that an improper discrimination was concerned which lead to collective punishment of tens of thousands of people. On August 3, 2014 a response on behalf of the Minister was received by HaMoked, which argued, that "the rights of the security inmates of Hamas organization, wherever they may be, were not violated", while "at the same time, the grant of privileges to this group of inmates… were [sic] re-examined."

In view of said outrageous response, HaMoked sent another letter to the State Attorney' Office on August 12, 2014, in which it demanded to immediately resume all visits, without any exception. HaMoked emphasized that family visits of Palestinian prisoners who were incarcerated in Israel were not "privileges", but rather a fundamental right, and added that in the event that the discriminating decision was not revoked, there would be no alternative but to turn to court.

In a conversation which was conducted by HaMoked on August 26, 2014 with a representative of the Israel Prison Service (ISA), the latter confirmed that the ban on family visits was imposed against the backdrop of the inmates' political affiliation, and added, that the ISA decided to allow visits of prisoners who were identified with the Palestinian Liberation Organizations. In practice, to date, the restrictions are still in effect and only Fatah prisoners receive family visits. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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