MK Ahmad Tibi and Adalah petition Israeli Supreme Court to allow MKs to visit Palestinian prisoners

The petitioners underscored the urgent need for these visits, pointing to the harsh and inhumane conditions in which Israeli is holding Palestinian prisoners, which have led to the deaths of at least 13 Palestinians in IPS facilities over the past six months

Today, 21 April 2024, Member of Knesset (MK) Dr. Ahmad Tibi, together with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court. The petition seeks an immediate halt to a policy implemented by the National Security Minister and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), which has prevented MK Tibi from holding meetings with Palestinian prisoners for over a year. MK Tibi and Adalah are requesting a court order to allow him to visit prisoners, including with Palestinian political leader and prisoner Marwan Barghouti.


HCJ 3507/24 MK Ahmad Tibi et al. v. Minister of National Security et al.

CLICK HERE to read the petition [Hebrew]


Since 16 April 2023, MK Tibi has contacted National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) six times in an attempt to set up visits with Palestinian prisoners incarcerated by Israel. On 16 April 2023, MK Tibi applied for permission to hold an urgent visit with the late prisoner Walid Daqqa, who was hospitalized at the time and in critical condition. However, all of MK Tibi’s requests were either ignored or dismissed, without adequate explanation. This policy continued even after the Knesset’s Legal Adviser warned that “the executive branch's prolonged failure to respond to a Knesset member represents a significant legal violation of his rights (...) not to mention an affront to the dignity of the Knesset as an institution.” Under the current policy, only one representative from each political party is permitted to visit prisoners. This arrangement follows Minister Ben-Gvir’s cancellation of a prior policy from 2022 allowing all MKs to visit prisoners. 


The Supreme Court petition, filed by Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany, argues that the policy adopted by Minister Ben-Gvir and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), which have been used to prevent MK Tibi from visiting prisoners, hinder his ability to carry out his parliamentary duties to oversee the actions of the prison authorities. By denying MK Tibi access to prisoners, Minister Ben-Gvir, who has authority over the IPS, is effectively obstructing parliamentary oversight of his own policies, which are explicitly designed to worsen the living conditions of Palestinian prisoners classified by Israel as “security prisoners”. The petitioners further argue that this conduct discriminates against MK Tibi compared to other MKs on ethnic and national grounds: during the same period, Minister Ben-Gvir permitted MKs from the ruling government coalition to visit Jewish security prisoners, while barring Arab opposition MKs, including MK Tibi, from visiting Palestinian security prisoners. For example, according to a report published by Haaretz, since the current government took office in late 2022, MK Limor Son Har-Melech of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party has made at least 14 visits to Jewish security prisoners, including during the war. The petition underscores that the Minister is abusing his powers to implement policies that exacerbate conditions for security prisoners, while denying conditions for proper oversight, and is discriminating against Arab MKs.


The petitioners highlighted the critical need for MK visits due to the harsh and inhumane conditions in which Palestinian prisoners and detainees are held by Israel, and which have deteriorated markedly over the past six months. Along with systemic torture, and ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli custody, including harsh physical violence, these conditions have resulted in the deaths of at least 13 Palestinians in IPS facilities since the start of the war.


CLICK HERE to read more about the escalation of systematic torture, and ill-treatment of Palestinians detained in Israeli facilities


The petitioners further noted that Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti, whom MK Tibir seeks to visit, is reportedly enduring harsh conditions of confinement, including extended periods of solitary confinement. Additionally, Barghouti’s lawyer informed his family that he had reported being beaten several times by prison guards, with the latest incident causing him to lose consciousness. According to the lawyer, this attack left visible injuries on his face, back, and leg.


The petitioners additionally argued that the restriction on MK Tibi’s visits to prisoners was imposed without legal authority under Israeli law, and violates the Knesset Members Immunity, Rights and Duties Law - 1951, which guarantees that MKs have the right to move freely throughout the state without restrictions, other than on private property.

MK Tibi and Adalah thus demanded that the Supreme Court intervene immediately and issue an order to allow MK Tibi to visit Palestinian prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti, and schedule an urgent hearing on the petition.

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