Violation of Prisoners' Rights in the Context of the Gaza War
On October 7, 2023, with the beginning of the war, a communication from the Prisoners' Ombudsman and the Minister of National Security was published, stating that "all prisons will enter a state of emergency." The implications of the state of emergency declared in the prisons were not clarified in the publications of the Prison Service (IPS) or the Ministry of National Security, and no further information was published.
However, information received by organizations dedicated to prisoner rights indicates that since the announcement, drastic changes have been implemented in the IPS policy toward prisoners. Basic rights of the prisoners, such as access to water and electricity, medical treatment, and the right to consult with legal representatives, have been severely restricted or completely revoked. Exceptional and arbitrary sanctions have been imposed on the movement of prisoners, on visits, phone calls, and more. Reports of violence by IPS personnel against security prisoners have also been received.
On October 11, 2023, we appealed (Hebrew) to the Prisoners' Ombudsman, together with peer organizations, demanding the immediate cancellation of the strict restrictions imposed on prisoners' rights. We argued that these restrictions were imposed without authority, in violation of the regulations of the Prison Service and prison rules, and without the proper grounding and publication required by IPS regulations. We demanded the immediate cessation of the negation of fundamental rights and arbitrary and unjustified revocation of benefits that are unrelated in any way to the state of war. Among other things, we called for the removal of all restrictions on meetings and consultations with legal representatives, the provision of medical treatment to inmates, and the lifting of restrictions on the movement of prisoners in wings and courtyards, insofar as these are not required according to the instructions of the Home Front Command.
Organizations behind the appeal, October 11, 2023:
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Physicians for Human Rights
Center for the Defence of the Individual