Why was the prisoner transferred?
Friday, February 13, 2015, 8:53 Yehuda Landsberg, a resident of Havat Gilad, was detained by the GSS on Sunday, January 19, 2014 on suspicion of setting Arab cars on fire and was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison. On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 an indictment was filed against him and on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 the Lod District Court ordered him released to house arrest. He began to serve his sentence in January 2015 in the wing of the Ma’asiyahu Prison reserved for religious prisoners. On Friday, January 30 his wife and three children arrived at the prison for their weekly visit and to their surprise were told that they were not allowed to enter. The prison claimed that Landsberg’s wife was listed in the prison service computers as having been imprisoned in the past. In fact she was detained seven years ago during the destruction of an outpost and released, which according to the prison rules does not constitute grounds for denying her a visit. Apparently an error in the computer system led to the decision not to allow her admittance. Landsberg’s wife waited several hours with her children, who have a serious blood disease, and then called Knesset Member David Azoulai (Shas) for assistance. He contacted high-ranking officials in the Israeli Prison Service who looked into the matter and ordered that the wife and children be admitted for the visit and that the error be corrected. The family claims that since this incident the prison service has changed its treatment of Landsberg due to the intervention by the Knesset member. On Saturday night, approximately 30 hours after the visit, a prison guard informed Landsberg that suddenly an order had been received to transfer him to the Tzalmon Prison in the north of Israel. At dawn Landsberg was transfered to Tzalmon, which led to a drastic worsening of his prison conditions. He was transfered to a prison wing in which Arab prisoners are held, which resulted in his not being permitted to enter the prison yard because his classification requires him to be separated from Arabs. Landsberg now has difficulty with his religious practices which he did not have in the Ma’asiyahu Prison, including the standard of Kashrut available where he is now imprisoned. His transfer also created logistical difficulties. The terms of visitation in Tzalmon require obtaining a permit before each visit, several weeks ahead of time. Tzalmon is located in the north of Israel, a long distance from his family’s home, and therefore each visit entails a lengthy travel time. Landsberg’s three children have a serious blood disease and the long trip damages their health. According to Landsberg’s family the prison service officers gave him the impression that his prison transfer was the result of their bypassing the Ma’asiyahu Prison management when his wife contacted Knesset Member David Azoulai. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed an urgent petition with the Natzrat District Court demanding Landsberg’s immediate return to the wing in which he had been in the Ma’asiyahu Prison. A deliberation is scheduled for several week’s time. Additionally Kedar sent a letter to the commander of the Tzalmon Prison in which he demanded that Landsberg be returned to the Ma’asiyahu Prison and that the prison service cease severely violating his rights.