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Following Israeli human rights organizations’ High Court petition: The Israel Prison Service will gradually publicize some of its orders in Arabic and will later consider translation of additional orders and procedures

On March 24, 2021, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, together with HaMoked and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to demand that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) translate into Arabic all of its orders and procedures relating to the rights and duties of inmates, and make them accessible to the entire population of prisoners and detainees and also the general public, as is done in Hebrew. The IPS orders and procedures – over 300 – are only available in Hebrew, although they are vital for conducting daily life in prisons and jails in Israel – and although some 60% of the inmate population in the country are Arabic speakers, a majority of them Palestinians of the oPt.

On August 19, 2021, the State responded that pursuant to the decision of the new Minister of Public Security, Omer Bar-Lev, prison orders would be translated into Arabic, “gradually and in stages”. First, during a period of some 18 months, the IPS will translate the orders “on which are based the charts of duties and rights hanging in the [prison] wards …”; later on, additional orders will be translated according to prioritization yet to be determined. At the third stage, the IPS will determine whether its warranted to translate into Arabic some of the IPS procedures. The petitioners responded that they wished to continue with the court proceeding, given the lack of clarity surrounding the scope and schedule of the declared translation project.

On October 7, 2021, the HCJ deleted the petition, ruling that while it had significantly promoted the remedy it had sought, the petition in its present form had run its course. “Given the petition’s contribution” to setting the project in motion, the petitioners were awarded NIS 7,500 in costs. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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