One of the most disturbing aspect of the way in which the state handled the investigation of the Arson-Murder case in the Arab village of Duma, was not so much the fact that the accused are two Jews, one of them a minor, but the fact that the country’s military, police, government and even the judiciary have colluded in an effort to get a confession out of those Jewish suspects, even at the cost of using torture.
Media reports from the time of the investigation clearly indicated that then Attorney General Yehuda Weinsten, and the Supreme Court, gave the GSS (Shabak) permission to employ “aggressive” means of interrogation. Defense attorneys called for press conferences in which they decried the fascistic nature of such orders, warning that no matter what confessions the authorities manage to squeeze out of their clients using these brutal means, in the end no court could possibly accept them considering the manner in which they were extracted.
Not really. To paraphrase the old pseudo-philosophical adage: if a fascistic permission by the court to use torture disappears, does it still count against a conviction?
In a revelation that brings to mind some of the worst regimes in history, the Honenu legal aid society on Wednesday issued a press release accusing the state of losing documents pertinent to the case of one former Duma case suspect, said documents being the authorization to use torture in interrogating him.
The accused, who was initially part of the Duma investigation, was interrogated for a full month by GSS employees using violence and forceful shaking, until it became clear that he had no connection to the case. At that point, the prosecution indicted him on the charge of attacking an Arab during a brawl that had taken place two years earlier.
His attorney, Sinaia Harizi Moses, of Honenu, has been requesting for month to be shown several documents from the investigation, and her requests have been ignored. Among those documents, she asked to see the specific documents that supported the prohibition against letting her meet with her client, as well as the full protocol of his GSS interrogations.
According to the Hunenu release, during a court hearing last week, the prosecution declared that some of the investigation documents had “disappeared” and that despite many efforts, they could not be found. As to a few other documents, the prosecution objects to sharing them with the defense. The court will have to decide on those.
According to Moses, the “disappeared” documents were the alleged permission issued by the Attorney General to GSS employees to brutalize her client for a month in their dungeon. Other documents, she alleges, are the false statements issued by GSS interrogators to persuade the AG and, in turn, the courts, to permit her client to stay behind bars without seeing his lawyer or his family, and to be interrogated “aggressively.”
Which brings us back to the Duma case which rattled the country when it literally burst in flames on July 31, 2015, and has since been relegated to the far regions of media and public memory. The case, should it ever come to court again, could become an indictment of former AG Weinsten as well as the players and coaches of the much hallowed Israeli Supreme Court team.
Unless someone conveniently loses the documents.