Center for the Defence of the Individual - Following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ: the Israel Prison Service undertakes to inform applicants of the actual whereabouts of a prisoner under its custody
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ: the Israel Prison Service undertakes to inform applicants of the actual whereabouts of a prisoner under its custody

In December 2010, the prisoner's parents traveled from their West bank home to the Megiddo Prison to visit their son. This long journey was preceded by protracted administrative procedures to obtain entry permits to Israel. Arriving at the prison, the parents were surprised to learn their son was not there, and so contacted HaMoked, which began attempts to trace him. In response to HaMoked's appeal, the control center of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) notified that the prisoner was at the Megiddo Prison. Contacting the prison directly to clarify the discrepancy, HaMoked was informed that the prisoner was indeed registered there, but was in fact being held at the Petah Tikva detention facility for over a week. Requested to account for the fact that a prisoner was held for several days at the Petah Tikva facility without being registered, the facility commander replied that under internal IPS regulations, the prisoner was regarded as being "in transit", hence could not be registered in his actual place of custody.

This is one of many such cases handled by HaMoked in recent years, pointing to a disturbing phenomenon – prisoners and detainees held in one IPS facility are transferred to another facility, mostly for interrogation purposes, without being properly registered as required by law. Although a prisoner might be held outside his original prison for days if not weeks, the IPS does not update such prisoners' records, leaving them registered in the original facility.

In April 2011, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ to instruct the IPS to maintain at all times accurate and up to date records of the location of detainees and prisoners under its charge, as prescribed by law. The petition states, inter alia, that consequent to the erroneous registration, the detainee's family and his attorney know nothing of his whereabouts, cannot inquire as to his health, his holding conditions, the possibility of arranging visitation and such like. Consequently, their ability to act on behalf of the prisoner or detainee and ensure his rights would be respected, is severely curtailed. HaMoked also contended that the situation was graver still with respect to the holding conditions of "security prisoners", as they were legally forbidden from maintaining telephone contact with their family, thus, the only way to ascertain their whereabouts, was by relying on IPS records.

The state demanded the petition be deleted, claiming no internal procedure prevented prisoners in transit from being registered; that the IPS internal documentation system was accurate and that the current registration methods were comprehensive and allow tracking of detainees’ whereabouts. The state added that it was obligated to inform a close relation of even temporary transfers of the prisoner to another facility. Furthermore, it was stated that the IPS had reissued its directive to supply upon request nothing but the detainee's current whereabouts.

In view of the state's response, HaMoked requested the court to delete the petition, provided the court endorsed the agreement between HaMoked and the IPS relating to the provision of up to date information on the actual whereabouts of any detainee or prisoner. The court accepted the request, and deleted the petition.

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