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MK Tibi asks Israel court to approve visit to Marwan Barghouti in prison

April 22, 2024 at 11:56 am

Arab member of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi in Jerusalem on 27 April 2019 [Sliman Khader/Apaimages]

Member of Israeli Knesset (MK) Ahmad Tibi and the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) have filed a joint petition to Israel’s Supreme Court seeking an immediate halt to a policy implemented by the extremist National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), which has prevented Tibi from holding meetings with Palestinian prisoners for over a year including with Palestinian political leader and prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

The petitioners underscored the urgent need for these visits, pointing to the harsh and inhumane conditions in which Israel is holding Palestinian prisoners, which have led to the deaths of at least 13 Palestinians in IPS facilities over the past six months. “Along with systemic torture, and ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli custody, including harsh physical violence, these conditions have resulted in the deaths of at least 13 Palestinians in IPS facilities since the start of the war,” it added.

The petition came after a year of correspondence with Ben-Gvir during which Tibi requested several times to visit security prisoners, including Walid Daqqah and Marwan Barghouti, however Ben-Gvir never responded.

On 16 April 2023, Tibi applied to hold an urgent visit with Daqqah, who was hospitalised at the time and in a critical condition. However, all of his requests were either ignored or dismissed without adequate explanation, the petition said, adding that this policy continued even after the Knesset’s Legal Adviser warned that “the executive branch’s prolonged failure to respond to a Knesset member represents a significant legal violation of his rights (…) not to mention an affront to the dignity of the Knesset as an institution.”

Daqqah died of medical negligence while in detention earlier this month.

By denying Tibi access to prisoners, Ben-Gvir, who has authority over the IPS, is effectively obstructing parliamentary oversight of his own policies, which are explicitly designed to worsen the living conditions of Palestinian prisoners classified by Israel as “security prisoners”, Adalah said in its petition to the court.

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