The Attorney General submitted to the Supreme Court his response to petitions by the Bar Association, civil society organizations, and individual prisoners, regarding vaccination of prisoners in accordance with the priorities set by health officials, following the directive of the Internal Security Minister on vaccinating prisoners against COVID-19.
The Attorney General's position is that the directive given by the Internal Security Minister to the Prison Service, according to which detainees and prisoners held in the Prison Service should not be vaccinated against the coronavirus before the prison guards are vaccinated was given without authority and against the law, hence it cannot be upheld. "Prisoners have a right to dignity, equality, and health, and there is a potential violation of their right to life as well. All this, without any legal authority," said a statement issued by the counsel.
"Moreover," it was argued in response, "this decision of the Minister of Internal Security was given contrary to the professional position of the Ministry of Health, entrusted with determining the priority of vaccines, without relying on any factual or professional infrastructure."
The Prison Service began the inmate vaccination operation, after completing the IPS staff vaccination operation over the weekend.
However, the Attorney General states that "these petitions have raised a legal issue of fundamental importance with regard to the lack of authority of the Minister of Internal Security to interfere with the discretion of competent bodies in issues such as health priority for vaccinations for prisoners. In view of the Minister's position that he is authorized to do so, this is a matter of fundamental importance that may be repeated, but is inherently short-lived, as this case proves.
"The Attorney General's position is that the Honorable Court must discuss the issue of principle raised by the petitions in order to establish the law," Mandelblit said in a statement.