Complaints that have recently reached HaMoked indicate that the Postal Bank treats the “cantina” accounts of prisoners held in Israel as its own and decides independently and without authority what amounts relatives of prisoners and their representatives will be able to deposit in the prisoners’ accounts.
According to the Israel Prison Service (IPS) Ordinance relating to the issue, every prisoner has the right to buy goods in the prison cantina up to a sum of 1500 NIS per month. For this purpose, relatives of the prisoner may deposit the sum in his account through the Postal Bank.
However, lately, upon arrival to deposit money, relatives of prisoners have encountered a refusal to make the deposit in various branches of the Postal Bank. In one case, the prisoner’s family was told that the account was closed and the deposit could not be made. In another case, the person who was making the deposit was told that he had gone beyond the limit he was permitted to deposit. As stated, the bank’s refusal to make the deposit is its own initiative only, and is contrary to IPS ordinances.
On 26 May 2009,HaMoked contacted the director of the Postal Bank demanding to receive clarifications as to the actions of the bank which is taking the law into its own hands and flagrantly ignoring the provisions of the IPS Ordinance while violating the rights of the prisoners and their relatives. HaMoked is demanding the Postal Bank present it with the procedure guiding the bank’s operation in matters concerning monetary deposits in prisoners’ bank accounts. HaMoked is also demanding a change in the bank’s arbitrary and unacceptable policy.