Backlash Against New Restrictions on Prisoner Visits

The visitors’ entrance the Maasiyahu Prison in Ramla. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The visitors’ entrance the Maasiyahu Prison in Ramla. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Bar Association has threatened to take the Prisons Service to court over new restrictions on lawyer visits to imprisoned clients issued after former prime minister Ehud Olmert was caught abusing the privilege, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

IBA president Efi Naveh said he would petition the High Court if the prisons didn’t rescind the order, which it issued without prior consultation with the IBA.

The IBA will “weigh all necessary measures for defending the professional interests of its members, the rights of its clients and the rights of prisoners,” said Naveh.

In response, the service said that “the right of prisoners to meet with a lawyer is meant in order to provide them with a professional service. The exploitation of this right has driven the IPS [the Israel Prisons Service] to bring up this issue in order to deal with its misuse, without harming the right of prisoners to receive legal counsel.”
After Olmert was found receiving 37 friends with law degrees at Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle under the pretext of lawyer-client visits, IPS spokesman Assaf Librati said “While this may be legal, it isn’t logical.”


Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan decided to limit the number of visitors to a maximum of three lawyers or law offices in the same week, who would have to show a power of attorney for the inmate.