Adalah petition for family visits to Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners to be heard in November 2014

Denial of family visits is example of punitive measure to suppress prisoners' protests against conditions of their detention; Adalah argued that these IPS instructions are illegal and must be revoked.

Earlier this month, the Lod District Court set a hearing for 5 November 2014 on a petition filed by Adalah on 1 July 2014 on behalf of Mr. Abdel Razeq Farraj, a Palestinian man from the West Bank, held in administration detention. The petition demands the cancellation of the instructions of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) prohibiting family visits for prisoners participating in hunger strikes. The recent hunger strike by Palestinian administrative detainees began on 24 April 2014 and ended on 25 June 2014.

This punitive measure, which has been imposed from 2001 until today, is part of numerous actions taken by the IPS to suppress prisoners' protests against the conditions of their detention. Adalah argued that these IPS instructions are illegal and must be revoked.

In response to Adalah's petition, the IPS asked the court to reject the petition without examining its content, claiming that the latest hunger strike has ended and the family visits have returned to their normal routine. However, Adalah Attorneys Nadeem Shehadeh, Aram Mahameed and Fady Khoury emphasized that the primary aspects of the petition are relevant beyond the specific cases of individual prisoners, and asked the court to hold a hearing to decide the case on its merits. The court subsequently set a hearing date for November 2014.

Adalah also argued that the IPS does not hold the authority to suspend prisoners' rights to family visits even during hunger strikes. These visits are part of their basic human rights and constitutional rights, and are not simply a privilege granted by the IPS.

Adalah further stressed that the IPS is also increasingly denying family visits to administrative detainees, who have not been charged or brought to trial. These individuals have not been convicted of any charge, and therefore their detention conditions should consider these factors.

Case citation: PP 1698-07-14 Razeq Farraj v. Israel Prison Service

For more information:

Adalah’s special report on the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike