| NEWS UPDATE
Adalah to AG and Prison Service: Prisoners from Gaza Incarcerated in Israel must be Allowed to Use Telephones to Check on their Family Members
Today, 31 December 2008, Adalah submitted a pre-petition to the Attorney General and the Director of the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) demanding that the Palestinian detainees and political prisoners from the Gaza Strip be allowed the use of telephones in order to check on their families and loved ones in the wake of continuous Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Adalah Attorney Abeer Baker argued that more than 1,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are imprisoned in Israeli jails and are classified as "security prisoners" by the IPS. This classification imposes considerable restrictions on them particularly with regard to their communication with the outside world, including the use of telephones. Further Israel has completely prevented family visits from Gaza to these prisoners since June 2007. In June 2008, Adalah filed a petition to the Supreme Court of Israel on behalf of the families of Palestinian prisoners from Gaza, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Association for the Palestinian Prisoners challenging the legality of the ban on family visits; this petition remains pending. (See H.C. 5399/08, Adalah et al. v. The Defense Minister et al.)
Attorney Baker further argued in the pre-petition that contact for these prisoners with their families at this time especially is a fundamental human need. This contact is vital in view of the heavy casualties and great number of wounded in Gaza due to Israel's air attacks. The prisoners need to check with their families on their conditions and commiserate with them.
Depriving the prisoners of family visits and all other means of communication with the outside world violates their right to dignity and their right to family life. Further, isolating the prisoners transforms their imprisonment to a humiliating and degrading experience that contradicts international norms and conventions, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For more information, see also: Adalah News Update, "State to Supreme Court: Israel not Obliged to Permit Families from Gaza to Visit their Relatives Incarcerated in Israeli Prisons," 27 October 2008: