Military Prosecutor General withdraws decision to deny visiting rights of prisoner’s lawyer

Military Prosecutor General withdraws decision to deny visiting rights of prisoner’s lawyer

On 13 March 2014, the Israeli Military Prosecutor General informed Adalah that a decision by a Chief Military Officer to prevent Attorney Rawan Ighbarieh of the organization “New Profile”fromvisiting her client Omar Saed in prison would be cancelled. Mr. Saed is serving consecutive sentences of imprisonment for refusing obligatory military service in the Israeli army.

The Military Prosecutor General's notice followsa letter sent by Adalah on 28 February 2014 demanding the cancellation of new conditions on prisoners’ visitsthat were adopted by the military prison authority. During the third period of Omar Saed's sentence in late January 2014, an officer in Prison 6 had told Attorney Ighbariehthat her visits to her client were restricted because shedid not carry a permit of "legal representation before the military court," a condition that did not exist previously. Ighbarieh wascontinuallypreventedfrom visiting Saed in the fourth and fifth periods of his sentence in February and March 2014.

In the wake of Adalah's involvement, Ha’aretz journalist Amira Hass published a news report on the instructions concerning the prevention of these visits. The Israeli army spokesperson denied knowing any of these new military instructions. 

According to the letter addressed from Adalah Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh to the Military Prosecutor General, "The instructions from the Chief Military Officerconstitute a serious violation of the rights of a prisoner to meet with hislawyer, especially when these instructions have been enacted illegally." 

Attorney Shehadeh further wrote in the letter that it is the right of every prisoner to meet with his/her lawyer, and that it is a constitutional right derived from the human right to personal freedom. He also noted that, "The instructions of the Chief Military Officer do not rely on primary legislation, and they were not published as required by law. As such, the instructions cannot restrict a constitutional right without explicit authorization by law."

See Amira Hass’ report in Ha’aretz, “Israeli army rescinds limits on lawyers meeting with clients in military jail”, 18 March 2014