Israeli Court Rejects Call to Extend Hamas Prisoner’s Solitary Confinement

Judge rules that state had not provided recent information showing the need to maintain detainee’s isolation.

Jack Khoury
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Illustration: Megiddo Prison.Credit: Itzik Ben Malki
Jack Khoury

In a rare move, Nazareth District Court ruled Thursday to reject the state’s request to extend a security prisoner’s solitary confinement.

Defense officials told the court that the prisoner, Murad Nimr, 25, is in solitary confinement because he is a member of Hamas’ military wing, and they fear that he is in contact with Hamas members abroad.

Under these circumstances, security prisoners are normally kept completely isolated from other prisoners and allowed no visitors except their attorney.

Security prisoners are kept separate from criminal offenders, in separate wings with other prisoners from the same terror organization.

Nimr, from East Jerusalem, is considered a member of Hamas’ leadership in the Jerusalem area. In January 2010, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for membership in a terror organization, contact with a foreign agent and aiding an enemy in wartime. He is serving his sentence at Megiddo Prison, northern Israel.

In 2013, classified information indicated that Nimr was going to continue harming state security from within the prison and he was then placed in solitary confinement.

In rejecting the state’s petition, Nazareth District Court Vice President Judge Tawfic Kteily ruled that the state had not met its burden of proof regarding “relevant and recent information that shows the need to continue keeping the prisoner in solitary confinement.”

The state is expected to appeal the ruling.

Public Defender’s Officer attorney Abeer Baker, who represented Nimr in the case, said, “Holding the prisoner in solitary confinement was a vengeful act from the outset, and the court did well to remind security authorities that they also need to show their motives are justified.”

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