Adalah to IPS: Illegal to prevent attorneys from visiting Palestinian detainees on hunger strike
On 15 May 2014, Adalah sent an urgent letter to the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Attorney General demanding an end to the IPS’s obstacles and restrictions on lawyers’ visits to Palestinian administrative detainees who are on hunger strike. Since 24 April 2014, about 130 Palestinian administrative detainees have been on hunger strike. Since then, Adalah has received numerous complaints from lawyers against the prison authorities for disrupting or preventing them from meeting with their clients, despite the detainees critical situation.
In the letter, Adalah Attorney Aram Mahameed requested that the IPS issue clear and urgent orders for all wardens to allow lawyers to meet with their clients without hindrance, as required by law. Attorney Mahameed argued in the letter that, "The accumulation of complaints clearly shows that there is a comprehensive policy to prevent lawyers from visiting administrative detainees. This policy is illegal and seriously affects the detainees’ rights for legal representation and to meet and consult with their lawyers. This act becomes even more pressing when the detainees are on hunger strike because they face health risks and the IPS takes punitive actions against them. Visitation is especially important for administrative detainees because they are virtually isolated from the outside world and in many cases they are banned from family visits."
The IPS responded to Adalah's letter on 18 May 2014. The IPS claimed that despite many requests by lawyers to visit the administrative detainees on hunger strike, they have issued instructions to all prison administrators to allow lawyers as many visits as possible. However, the IPS did not clarify what further measures they have taken, or will take to ensure that the administrative detainees’ right to meet with their lawyers. Adalah will continue to monitor the issue of lawyers’ visits to hunger-striking detainees, and turn to the courts, if needed against the IPS’s actions.