Adalah, PCATI and PHRI join petition as amicus curiae in prisoner transportation case

Petition calls for improvement to degrading and inhumane conditions faced by 1,800 prisoners every day during transport in IPS ‘Posta’ vehicles.

The Israeli Supreme Court on 26 February 2018 accepted a request made by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) to join as amicus curiae a petition calling on the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Israeli Public Security Ministry to improve the degrading and inhumane conditions in which prisoners are transported.


Approximately 1,800 prisoners are transported daily in IPS "Posta" vehicles to various destinations within Israel. Some are transferred from one prison to another, while others are driven to court hearings or to medical facilities for treatment.


The petition was filed by lawyer Michal Pomerantz in April 2017 on behalf of four Palestinian inmates classified by Israeli as “security prisoners.”


An amicus curiae, or “friend of the court”, is called upon by the court to supply information relevant to a given case.


Adalah, PCATI, and PHRI maintained in their request that, given their years of experiences with cases related to prisoners’ rights, particularly regarding conditions of prisoner transport, they are uniquely able to contribute to the court’s understanding of the petition. The organizations also noted that they are able to provide the court with analysis of international law relevant to the case.


Adalah and PHRI filed a similar petition in 2008 in which they detailed serious deficiencies in IPS prisoner transportation. In the wake of that petition, the IPS announced that it had implemented a series of changes and that it intended to enact additional improvements in the future.


Despite this commitment, recent testimonies provided by prisoners highlight serious violations by the IPS of prisoners’ basic constitutional rights during transport. Prisoners continue to suffer from long and exhausting trips of up to 16 hours, in inhumane conditions.


In a hearing held 26 February 2018, the Supreme Court granted the Israeli state authorities three months to present an updated statement in which they must detail improvements already made and expected to be made to the conditions in which prisoners are transported.


(Photo: IPS Facebook)