The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved on Monday a bill prohibiting terror suspects from meeting with their attorneys for up to six months.
The bill, proposed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, follows prison orders adopted in 2005 stipulating that terror suspects can be prevented from seeing their attorneys if suspicion arises that these meetings endanger public security.
But currently there is a limit of three weeks on the prohibition, and so long as the accumulating period does not surpass a year. The new law, if it passes its second and third reading in the Knesset, will extend this period if authorities suspect detainees of using the meetings to plan terror attacks.
A first draft of the bill also extended the right to prohibit meetings with attorneys to crime family members, but this was abandoned due to criticism in the Interior Ministry.
Aharonovitch explained that prison officials have warned over recent years that the legal authority to deny prisoners such meetings is insufficient in light of the dangers presented by such meetings, which prisoners may use to transmit messages within and out of the prison.
The minister added that certain lawyers have already come under suspicion of using their privileges in order to help coordinate terror attacks.
With the new bill, prison directors will be able to delay meetings with attorneys for 96 hours even if state security is not at risk, if they believe lawyers are collaborating with prisoners on terror-related subjects.
A district court will then be able to extend the prohibition period for up to six months.
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