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Judge: Failures by Prison Staff Caused the Death of Prisoner X

The judge rejected the State's motion to close down the investigation.
Judge Daphne Blatman-Kdrai

Judge Daphne Blatman-Kdrai

Israeli State Attorney Moshe Lador decided on Thursday that the Prison Service staff who were involved in the scandal of inmate Ben Zygier, known as “Prisoner X,” will not be charged.

Lador has determined that there isn’t sufficient evidence that their negligence caused Zygier’s death. Nevertheless, the investigation’s findings will be handed over to the Prison Service for a possible disciplinary action.

Ben Zygier

Ben Zygier

Earlier, Judge Daphne Blatman-Kdrai issued her report on the the death of Prisoner X, which found serious failings in the conduct of the Prisons Authority. The Judge wrote that her investigation shows prima facie evidence of failure by various components of the Prisons Authority that caused the prisoner’s death.

The judge rejected the State’s motion to close down the investigation of circumstances surrounding the death of the prisoner without determining fault. The judge also ruled that those responsible for the supervisory practices should have anticipated that by maintaining a stricter watch on the prisoner’s behavior they could have prevented him from committing suicide.

The report details a conversation between Zygier and his wife on his final day, December 12, 2010. It states that at the conclusion of the call the intelligence NCO on duty noticed that the prisoner was crying, nervous and upset, since the conversation between Prisoner X and his wife included difficult information.

The report further stated that the deceased prisoner asked to give his wife a note, but the Intelligence NCO refused. In response, the prisoner tore up the note angrily. His wife asked to allow it to enter the cell again, to calm her husband down. The NCO agreed, despite the breech in procedure. According to NCO, when they left the booth, the wife was crying.

The intelligence NCO made it clear in his testimony that he passed the information about the event to the social worker, and she in turn told investigators that she did not see the prisoner gushing emotions as an exceptional event and did not issue any instruction on this matter.

According to the social worker, at six in the evening was on the phone with the guard, who reported that the prisoner was relaxed and watching TV. At close to 7 PM, the prisoner went into the bathroom and never came out.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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