For over two years, the Israel Prison Service prevented a mother from visiting her prisoner son, held separately from other inmates due to his mental health condition: The mother finally visited her son following HaMoked’s petition המוקד להגנת הפרט عر HE wheel chair icon
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26.05.2022
For over two years, the Israel Prison Service prevented a mother from visiting her prisoner son, held separately from other inmates due to his mental health condition: The mother finally visited her son following HaMoked’s petition
For over two years, the Israel Prison Service prevented a mother from visiting her prisoner son, held separately from other inmates due to his mental health condition: The mother finally visited her son following HaMoked’s petition

For years, Israel has been holding Palestinians from the oPt in incarceration facilities inside its borders, contrary to the international law prohibition on the transfer of protected persons outside the occupied country. Incarceration inside Israel causes a severe violation of the basic right to family life of both the inmates and their loved-one. Often, either the military or the Israel Prison Service (IPS) prevent immediate family members from visiting their incarcerated loved-ones on irrelevant grounds, in total disregard of the fact that often a visit is the only means of contact between them, as those classified as “security” prisoners or detainees are not allowed to have phone calls with their families. Thus in the following case, of heightened severity given the fact that for a very long time a mother was prevented from visiting her son, even though he is serving a life sentence and kept separately from other prisoners – according to the IPS, due to the severe symptoms of his mental condition.

The prisoner’s parents – his birth father and his step mother (married to his father for years following the death of his birth mother) – took care to regularly visit their son in prison, via the dedicated shuttles arranged by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and pursuant to military permits to enter Israel for the purpose. However, in November 2019, two months after the father passed away, when the mother went for her regular visit to her son, she was denied entry to Gilboa prison and was told she could not visit unless her son filed a special request. 

The mother sought the assistance of HaMoked, which sent a letter to Gilboa prison complaining about the banning of her visit on feeble procedural grounds, and emphasizing that the woman was the isolated prisoner’s only remaining parental figure. But the prison failed to respond despite HaMoked’s reminder on the matter. After several months during which prison visits were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the woman again arrived to visit her son in prison, again pursuant to a valid military permit and as part of the ICRC prison-shuttle, but once more she was denied entry into prison, this time on the claim of “absence of family tie”.

On learning that the prisoner had been transferred to Nitsan Prison, HaMoked contacted the relevant prison officer to arrange the mother’s visit there. On September 23, 2021, in a telephone conversation, a prison officer demanded that HaMoked send proof of the mother’s marriage to the petitioner’s late father. The documents were sent that same day, but then the prison officer notified that the prisoner had been transferred to Eshel prison.  

The prisoner was soon transferred yet again, this time to Rimonim prison. HaMoked contacted the officer there on October 27, 2021, to ask that the mother be allowed to visit her son, and attached documents proving the marriage. Only a month later did the prison respond, inexplicably claiming that the mother’s entry could not be approved as “prior approval of the ICRC is necessary”, and that the mother’s details did not appear on the approved visitor list. HaMoked sent another letter on the matter but to no avail and so had no choice but to file a prisoner petition to the Court for Administrative Affairs on February 23, 2022, demanding the mother be allowed to visit her son.  

On May 8, 2022, about a week before the scheduled court hearing, the IPS notified HaMoked that there was nothing to hinder the mother’s visit to her son, and that all she had to do for the purpose was register via the ICRC for the next prison-visit shuttle so that she would appear on the visitor list provided to the prison.

Thus, finally, on May 25, 2022 – after over two-and-a-half years apart – the mother visited her imprisoned son.

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For years, Israel has been holding Palestinians from the oPt in incarceration facilities inside its borders, contrary to the international law prohibition on the transfer of protected persons outside the occupied country. Incarceration inside Israel causes a severe violation of the basic right to family life of both the inmates and their loved-one. Often, either the military or the Israel Prison Service (IPS) prevent immediate family members from visiting their incarcerated loved-ones on irrelevant grounds, in total disregard of the fact that often a visit is the only means of contact between them, as those classified as “security” prisoners or detainees are not allowed to have phone calls with their families. Thus in the following case, of heightened severity given the fact that for a very long time a mother was prevented from visiting her son, even though he is serving a life sentence and kept separately from other prisoners – according to the IPS, due to the severe symptoms of his mental condition.

The prisoner’s parents – his birth father and his step mother (married to his father for years following the death of his birth mother) – took care to regularly visit their son in prison, via the dedicated shuttles arranged by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and pursuant to military permits to enter Israel for the purpose. However, in November 2019, two months after the father passed away, when the mother went for her regular visit to her son, she was denied entry to Gilboa prison and was told she could not visit unless her son filed a special request. 

The mother sought the assistance of HaMoked, which sent a letter to Gilboa prison complaining about the banning of her visit on feeble procedural grounds, and emphasizing that the woman was the isolated prisoner’s only remaining parental figure. But the prison failed to respond despite HaMoked’s reminder on the matter. After several months during which prison visits were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the woman again arrived to visit her son in prison, again pursuant to a valid military permit and as part of the ICRC prison-shuttle, but once more she was denied entry into prison, this time on the claim of “absence of family tie”.

On learning that the prisoner had been transferred to Nitsan Prison, HaMoked contacted the relevant prison officer to arrange the mother’s visit there. On September 23, 2021, in a telephone conversation, a prison officer demanded that HaMoked send proof of the mother’s marriage to the petitioner’s late father. The documents were sent that same day, but then the prison officer notified that the prisoner had been transferred to Eshel prison.  

The prisoner was soon transferred yet again, this time to Rimonim prison. HaMoked contacted the officer there on October 27, 2021, to ask that the mother be allowed to visit her son, and attached documents proving the marriage. Only a month later did the prison respond, inexplicably claiming that the mother’s entry could not be approved as “prior approval of the ICRC is necessary”, and that the mother’s details did not appear on the approved visitor list. HaMoked sent another letter on the matter but to no avail and so had no choice but to file a prisoner petition to the Court for Administrative Affairs on February 23, 2022, demanding the mother be allowed to visit her son.  

On May 8, 2022, about a week before the scheduled court hearing, the IPS notified HaMoked that there was nothing to hinder the mother’s visit to her son, and that all she had to do for the purpose was register via the ICRC for the next prison-visit shuttle so that she would appear on the visitor list provided to the prison.

Thus, finally, on May 25, 2022 – after over two-and-a-half years apart – the mother visited her imprisoned son.

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