Adalah to Israeli officials: Let MK Jabareen visit Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti in prison

IPS’s rejection of requests to visit Barghouti interferes with Knesset Member’s role as elected public official to examine and scrutinize IPS policies regarding hunger strikers.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent a letter to senior Israeli officials demanding that Knesset Member Yousef Jabareen be permitted to visit Palestinian prisoner and hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti.


In the past several weeks, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has rejected three separate requests made by MK Jabareen (Joint List) to visit Barghouti, who is being held in an Israeli prison, stating only that it would not authorize such a visit.


MK Yousef Jabareen (left) and Marwan Barghouti (right). (Photos: Facebook and Wikimedia Commons)


On 5 May 2017, Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Muna Haddad sent a request on MK Jabareen's behalf to Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon, IPS legal advisor Yochi Gensin, and Public Security Ministry legal advisor Yoel Hadar.


MK Jabareen's visit takes on additional importance and urgency in light of the mass hunger strike led by Barghouti that is now in its third week.


On 17 April 2017, some 1,500 Palestinians held by Israel and classified as "security prisoners" began the strike to protest the conditions of their detention in Israeli prisons and to demand improvements (Israel is currently holding some 6,500 Palestinians in prisons and detention centers).


"The health and physical condition of the prisoners – who have been cut off from the outside world almost completely – continues to deteriorate as the IPS imposes punitive sanctions against them," Adalah wrote. "MK Jabareen's request to visit prisoners is an important and integral part of his role as an elected public official."


MK Jabareen said: "The [IPS] rejection of all my requests to visit Barghouti constitutes a serious harm to my political activity as a Knesset member and to parliamentary immunity. There is no doubt that the prisoners' strike is of utmost public importance and that it is my role as an elected public official to examine and scrutinize IPS policies relating to this issue. This is done by, amongst other means, visiting prisoners."


Just last week, on 3 May 2017, the IPS was compelled to halt its practice of preventing Palestinian prisoners who are participating in a hunger strike from meeting with their lawyers. The move came in response to an Israeli Supreme Court petition against the practice filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs.


READ Adalah's letter [Hebrew]