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October 13, 2015 / 30 Tishri, 5776
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Meretz: Homeland Security Lied to Knesset on ‘Anonymous’ Prisoners

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Gal'on condemned "the government's culture of lies."
Meretz Chairman MK Zahava Gal'on.

Meretz Chairman MK Zahava Gal'on.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Meretz Chairman MK Zahava Gal’on says that Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich gave a false report to the Knesset plenum when he said about 5 months ago that there were no anonymous prisoners in Israel.

MK Gal’on said that she had inquired during the plenary discussion about other unnamed prisoners in the prison system, because she wanted to check information about another inmate who was “imprisoned in the dark,” as she put it.

Gal’on announced that she intends to demand an urgent Knesset debate on the new case of a Prisoner X, as has been revealed Tuesday morning, and what she called “the government’s culture of lies.”

Australian Mossad agent Ben Zygier, also known as ‘Prisoner X,’ committed suicide in an Israel jail last February.

Additional declassified material from the investigation of the suicide of a prisoner X, show that in the Ayalon prison, where Zygier had been incarcerated, there was another anonymously detained prisoner, whose story and the conditions of his incarceration are very similar to those of Zygier.

Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who visited Zygier in prison, says his impression was that Zygier was distressed but not suicidal. Feldman told Reshet Bet that he believes Zygier did not intend to commit suicide, and that his attempt was a cry for help.

A report by Judge Daphne Blatman-Kdrai that was released Tuesday morning found failures in supervising Zygier’s cell. Among other things, camera 116, which was directed at the bathroom facility inside the prisoner’s cell did not work properly and did not transfer images to the command and control center of the prison, only to the Commissioner’s room, which was empty at the time of the suicide. Guards had alerted prison management repeatedly regarding the failed camera, but it was not repaired. Also, the report revealed that due to manpower shortages, there wasn’t a full staff present at the control center.

Interior Committee Chairwoman MK Miri Regev announced plans to hold a committee meeting on the matter and to summon representatives of the defense establishment and the Prison Service, to review the lessons that have been learned from the Prisoner X fiasco earlier this year.

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) believes the information about there being another Prisoner X requires an investigation by the State Comptroller. Shai said the thought of other prisoners being held in such conditions creepy and scary.

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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