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Maasiyahu Prison is a minimum-security Israel Prison Service prison specifically designated for illegal immigrants and others awaiting deportation (as well as others convicted of various minor-to-moderate crimes, including Israeli citizens). The nickname for the "Torani" (religious) wing of the prison is "Beis Medrash Maasiyahu" because of the wholesome religious environment and constant Torah study that occurs inside that section. The whole prison complex is located in the city of Ramle in the Center District of Israel.
On June 15, 2002, inmates at the prison declared a hunger strike to protest what they viewed as improper medical and legal treatment.
On February 11, 2004, public workers from the nearby town of Lod, who had not been paid in months, chained themselves to the gates of the prison in a public protest, demanding to be arrested so they could be fed the free prison food.
In March 2005, a wing of the prison was converted to house those detained while protesting Sharon's plan to withdraw from 21 settlements in Gaza and another 4 in the West Bank. The new wing is capable of housing 900 detainees.
Notable persons held at the prison throughout its history include:
- Jaggi Singh (1 day)
- Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane
- Aryeh Deri (22 months)
- Shlomo Benizri
- Moshe Katsav, former President of Israel and convicted rapist, seven years
- Raved, Ahiya; Meranda, Amnon (September 1, 2009). "Former Ministers Hirchson, Benizri Begin Prison Terms". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Israel ex-President Katsav begins jail term for rape". BBC News (BBC). 6 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
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