pr 08-06-04

28 June 2009

Following Adalah's Petition, Israel Prison Service Reverses its Ban on Books in Prisons

On 22 June 2009, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) reversed its decision to prevent prisoners from receiving books not found in the prisons and announced to the Nazareth District Court that it has developed a new system to provide books by request through the prison Sales Center (canteen). The IPS pledged to provide a desired book within a month of a prisoner's request.

The IPS announced these new decisions during a court hearing held on 24 June 2009, during which Adalah's petition challenging the ban on books was considered. Adalah Attorney Abeer Baker, who submitted the petition in May 2009 on behalf of Mr. Walid Dakka, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, classified as a security prisoner by the IPS, objected to the IPS's new decision in part.

Attorney Baker asked the court to order the IPS to develop clear standards and regulations about the quantity and subject matter of the books that prisoners may request through the prison Sales Center. She argued that these standards need to address issues such as prisoners who are unable to financially afford to pay for the books; books that are not found by the IPS; and prisoners who are enrolled in the Open University and need a large number of books. During the hearing, Attorney Baker further argued that the IPS's recognition of a prisoner's right to receive books is incomplete if it is not accompanied by a clear, transparent mechanism to exercise this right, in order to prevent arbitrary decisions against the prisoners. 

The court ordered the IPS to enact clear regulations in this regard within 45 days and ruled that Adalah may return to court if the IPS does not follow through with its commitments or if Adalah opposes the details of the new regulations. The court also ordered the Gilboa prison to provide Mr. Dakka with books by Abu el-Alaa' al-Miari and Hanna Mina within one month.

Case Citation: Prisoners' Petition (P.P.) 439/09 (Nazareth District Court), Walid Dakka et al. v. The Israel Prison Service (decision delivered on 24 June 2009). For more information, see "Adalah Petitions District Court against Israel Prison Service Decision Banning the Entry of Books into Prisons," Adalah News Update, 19 May 2009





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