The IPS admits to a severe failure in its record keeping: negligence in logging visitors’ entry to prison resulted in a severe violation of the right to meeting of a Palestinian prisoner and his wife
For years, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah was prevented from visiting her husband imprisoned inside Israel. In 2013, a petition was filed on behalf of the prisoner in a bid to remove the ban and enable the wife’s visits. The prisoner petition was denied, inter alia, on the grounds that this was a security ban imposed by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) (i.e., and if so, a petition should be filed by the woman directly, rather than by the prisoner). In an appeal to the Supreme Court, the IPS suddenly claimed that according to the data of the prison registration system, the woman had visited her husband ten times during 2012-2014, although she was “banned from entry to Israel”. The appellants insisted that the records were wrong, and actually represented the visits to prison made by the couple’s minor children – who had to present their mother’s ID card containing their details on entering the prison, as the IPS required visitors to show an identification document. The court rejected
the appeal on the grounds that the IPS data “contradict the applicant’s claim and disproves the factual presentation he made in his motion whereby his wife has not visited him”.
On January 17, 2016, HaMoked complained
to the IPS about the wrong registration. HaMoked argued that the prisoner had been visited during that period by his underage children, but apparently the mother’s ID number was logged in the prison’s system for recording visitors, as if she herself had visited there, rather than the children’s names.
In January 26, 2016, in response to HaMoked’s assertions, the IPS acknowledged
that “the children’s mother did not visit the prison with the children”. The IPS also admitted that the error had been discovered on the previous year, and following which the procedures were changed so that “since then no ID card owner has been recorded in the visitation system, only actual visitors”.
HaMoked stresses that this is grave negligence in keeping true records of prison entries by visitors, which in this case resulted in an actual violation of the right to family life of the prisoner and his spouse.