Murderer Sues State to Play Sony PlayStation Behind Bars

Court: Possession of a video games in prison is a privilege, must be weighed against security concerns.

The Israel Prison Service policy barring prisoners from having advanced models of Sony's PlayStation video game console has motivated a convicted murderer to file a court petition to reverse the decision.

The prison service has refused to repair Yuri Avrutin's broken PlayStation 2 console as the prisoner requested, saying that the PlayStation 2 and 3 models pose a threat that prisoners will use the devices for unmonitored communication with the outside world because they can be modified to provide Internet access.

Judge Yonatan Avraham ruled against Avrutin, who is serving a life sentence following his 2004 conviction for the murder of a man who had demanded that Avrutin's boss repay large debts.

The court said possession of a PlayStation console is a privilege, not an absolute right, and must be weighed against security concerns prompted by the possibility of Internet access.

"When there is a conflict between the two," the judge ruled, "the public's interest must prevail."

However, the judge added that he assumes the prison service would allow prisoners to have other consoles on the market that don't pose the same problem.

Avrutin, who told the court he plays video games when he has trouble falling asleep at night, is not the only prisoner hooked on Sony PlayStation.

During Roman Zadorov's trial for the 2006 murder of Golan Heights teen Tair Rada, an informant who shared a cell with Zadorov said he was a fan of the game console.