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  • Uri DeYoung

Administrative detainee denied phone contact with family


Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar; Photo credit: Honenu

Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 17:06 Last month, Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to order the Prison Service to allow Y., a Jewish youth who has been in administrative detention for over two months, phone contact with his family. Keidar stated that the status of Y., who is being held in a detention center, is complicated and that there is a need to be considerate of the complex legal situation while striking a balance with the rights of the detainee. Judge Elazar Nahlon rejected the petition.


Keidar: "The status of an administrative detainee is problematic in that it is most unusual because the detainee has been put behind bars without a trial. Under these circumstances, it is proper to strike a balance and mitigate the conditions of an administrative detainee. This is true with regard to phone contact. Detention in general and administrative detention, in particular, is not punitive. It is unreasonable that sentenced prisoners, for example, security prisoners who have been convicted of murder, are allowed phone contact, whereas the petitioner, who is under administrative detention and has not been tried, is not."

During the hearing, Keidar cited that the Prison Service conducted a pilot program for security prisoners that allowed them phone calls. "Y. has been denied his rights in an extreme manner… We are requesting monitored phone calls. Now, my client is sitting in isolation. If he were allowed a phone restricted to contacting only his parents, his situation would be different… Currently, the phone system in the Prison Service can be controlled, and it is set so that [someone imprisoned] is limited to specific calls. That is to say, [a prisoner] can call specific people only, for example, family members and an attorney. Almost all security prisoners, all but two, receive calls," said Keidar in court.


In his ruling, which rejected the petition, Judge Nahlon stated: "After I examined the information presented at the hearing, I reasoned that in the conclusion [reached by the Prison Service], no flaw had occurred that justifies intervention. I will repeat and reiterate that in accordance with the regulations of holding an administrative detainee, the petitioner is eligible to receive visitors and also to send and receive letters."


Honenu: "While terrorists belonging to terror organizations enjoy the good life and indulgences in prison, the State of Israel is strict with the conditions of Jewish prisoners. And here the matter is even worse because it involves an administrative detainee who has not even stood trial – because there is no evidence against him. Therefore, the law itself requires that Y. be provided with better conditions. However, he has payot on his head…"

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