Honenu demands return of illegally dismissed prison guards

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 14:09 One month ago, soldiers in the Prison Service’s First Response Force Unit were suspended from their duties for two weeks after being suspected of beating a terrorist to death in Ketziot Prison. During a prison riot of terrorist security prisoners, the soldiers were forced to use force against a group of prisoners. Shortly thereafter, one of them died from a medical incident. The terrorist security prisoner who died was a Yehuda and Shomron resident serving a long sentence for wearing an explosive belt, among other crimes. He was convicted of attempted murder, opening fire on people, membership in an illegal organization, conspiring to intentionally cause death, and conducting military training.

After the incident, the soldiers were interrogated and conditionally released. Following two weeks of suspension, they returned to their unit. However, several days ago, they were informed that they had been dismissed from their positions. They did not undergo a formal hearing procedure as required by law and Prison Service directives. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is representing several soldiers, wrote a letter to the Prison Service demanding that they be returned to their unit and granted a hearing as required. Attorney Yado added that if the Prison Service does not agree to the demand, he will turn to the Labor Court.

In his letter to Katy Perry, the Prison Service Commissioner, Attorney Yado underscored the illegal conduct of the Prison Service: “The dismissal of the soldiers from service was carried out without discussion, preliminary talk, [adherence to] rules, or formal decision. The transfer was collective, not individual, and obviously, a single ruling is inapplicable for all five [soldiers]. Not one soldier was summoned for a hearing and there was no official procedure of any kind. Therefore, each of the soldiers should be immediately returned to his unit.

Attorney Yado cited the dedicated service of the soldiers who work in a sensitive and dangerous place, and asked for their return to their unit: “These are highly experienced soldiers who loyally serve in an elite unit of the Prison Service. They routinely cope with difficult challenges. Over the past few months, the soldiers have been coping with a threat to the lives of the prison guards. Their unit is on the frontline, assuring the security of the prison guards and the general security of the prison compound. Today, one month after the incident, all or virtually all the soldiers may be returned to their unit. There are no reasonable grounds or justifiable cause not to do so. This demand is based on the obligation to maintain organizational decency and sound administrative proceedings. I thank you for your urgent treatment of the matter and your professional handling.”

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “The Prison Service has allowed itself to be intimidated by media noise from terror organizations. Instead of backing their soldiers, they dismissed them collectively without speaking to them, and issued a tender for recruitment of new soldiers.”

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