Following a petition to the court: a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem succeeded to visit his incarcerated brother, after a two-year forced separation
On May 12, 2019, HaMoked filed a petition to the Be’er Sheva Court for Administrative Affairs on behalf of a prisoner from East Jerusalem whose brother had been arbitrarily banned from visiting him for nearly two years by the Israel Prison Service (IPS). For about a year, the petitioner received visits from his brother without obstacle. But after the brother was arrested and interrogated for a few days, the IPS refused to allow him to visit the petitioner, classifying him as a “former prisoner”. Twice the IPS rejected HaMoked’s requests to allow the brother to visit the prisoner. These refusals, each supplied after a delay of over a month and only via telephone – included no real reason for the ban and did not mention the ban’s expiration date.
In the petition, HaMoked argued that this was apparently an arbitrary and disproportionate ban, imposed for almost two years on a person who was held for just a few days for interrogation and had not been arrested or interrogated since. HaMoked also recalled that as the prisoner was classified as a “security inmate”, he was not allowed as a rule to talk to his family on the telephone and therefore, it was only through visits that the right to family life could be fulfilled.
However, in the response, filed on June 17, 2019, the IPS remained adamant, clarifying that “a visit is defined as a privilege”, and that the security officials “denied the entry of the brother to the [IPS] facility given that the entry constitutes a security threat”. Once again, no real reason was provided nor an expiration date for the ban.
Following the court’s comments during the hearing of June 19, 2019, the IPS asked for time to receive the security officials’ updated opinion. In the next hearing, held on July 17, 2019, the IPS announced that the security officials had lifted the ban following an updated security check, and so the brother may file a new visit request that would be duly examined.
On August 4, 2019, the brothers finally met, after a forced separation of almost two years.