Israeli news sources revealed that a high-ranking Israeli prison officer has been arrested on Monday morning, pending an investigation into the smuggling of mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners in Nafkha Penitentiary, located in the Negev desert, south of occupied Palestine.
Some of the prisoners in Nafkha Penitentiary are serving long sentences due to accusations of carrying out operations against Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, disclosed that it is suspected that the prison officer had used his position to smuggle mobile phones.
The newspaper indicated that the officer was arrested after a number of weeks of follow-ups by the Shin Bet security agency. Other suspects are reported to have also been arrested by Israeli police, on suspicion of involvement in the smuggling of phones to prisoners.
The prison officer had been working as the deputy commander of the prison and has been convicted of several charges including: “Working to help a terrorist organisation, establishing a prohibited relationship between jailer and prisoner, receiving bribes, fraud and breach of trust and conspiring to commit a crime.”
The newspaper stated that the officer smuggled dozens of cell phones, and that investigations are being conducted with a number of prisoners linked to Fatah, for their possible involvement in the case.
Officers of the Israeli Prison Service special operations units conducted extensive inspections in the prison on Sunday, where several mobile phones were found.
On 21 March 2017 an Israeli court convicted a member of the Arab Knesset, Basel Ghattas, of smuggling mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with a fine of 120,000 shekels ($34,000).
It is worth noting that the occupation authorities prohibit Palestinian prisoners from making phone calls to their families, therefore forcing them to rely on smuggling phones as the only method of communication outside of the prison.