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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘torture’

Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate Revealed in Diary of Former KGB Chief

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

For the first time ever, historians finally know, without doubt, what happened to the Swedish diplomat who saved so many thousands of Jewish lives from the Nazi hordes in Hungary during World War II.

In the 632-page tome, “Notes From a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First K.G.B. Chairman, Found Over 25 Years After His Death,” one finds the memoirs of one of the most important men in Soviet history, and the answer to one of the most painful questions of the last century.

“I have no doubts that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947,” wrote state security chief Ivan A. Serov, head of the KGB from 1954 to 1958, in a memoir not only rare but in fact probably entirely forbidden to write.

Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest in 1945, and although there have been countless searches for clues to his fate, none have turned up the slightest breath of evidence as to what happened to him.

But his fate is found in this text, because the grandaughter of Ivan A. Serov, 57-year-old retired ballerina Vera Serova was wise enough, and kind enough, not to throw away the papers discovered by workers in suitcases as they renovated a garage four years ago at a “dacha” left to her in northwestern Moscow by her VIP grandfather.

The soldiers of the Soviet Union were occupying Budapest at the time of Wallenberg’s disappearance, and it was known that as a Swedish diplomat, he had strong ties with the Americans and the highest echelons of the Third Reich. That made him suspect to the Russians.

Neither ever gave up a clue, however, until this summer when the diaries of the original head of the clandestine KGB, found tucked into the wall of a little vacation cottage in Russia, were published.

Although few indeed are memoirs written by Kremlin officials – for obvious reasons – this one, penned by Serov, contained a treasure.

The multiple references to previously unknown documents on Wallenberg definitively put to rest the endless questions about the fate of the heroic diplomat. The most important of all is the fact that Wallenberg, though dead at the time of the posthumous investigation, was ultimately found by the USSR not to have been a “spy” after all.

It was Serov who carried out that probe at the behest of Nikita S. Khrushchev, who requested the inquiry after Stalin, telling Serov to respond to Sweden and help in the purge of Molotov. Although he failed to uncover the full circumstances of Wallenberg’s death, he said, he found no evidence of espionage.

There is a mention of the cremation of Wallenberg’s remains. And there is a reference to something said by Serov’s predecessor, Viktor Abakunov, who was tried and executed in 1954, in the final Stalin purge. During the interrogation of the former head of state security, his torturers learned that it was Stalin and then-foreign minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov who had issued the order to “liquidate” Wallenberg.

Serov also said he had read a Wallenberg file — despite the fact the Soviet Security Service had for years denied that any such files existed. Hans Magnusson, a retired senior diplomat interviewed by the New York Times, directed the Swedish side of the Swedish-Russian Working Group and said there should have been a file created for every prisoner. But, he said, “The Russians said they did not find one.”

Vera Serova has one, however, in her grandfather’s memoirs. She has published them now to restore his reputation, she said.

Serov did many evil things in his life: he established the secret police that were used to terrorize the population in Poland and East Germany; he helped deport thousands of minorities considered a threat to Soviet rule in Russia; he wielded enormous power as head of state security.

Hana Levi Julian

Syrian Refugee Kidnapped, Raped, Stabbed and Beheaded in Istanbul

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

A young Syrian man who fled the certain dangers of his homeland to what he thought was the safety of a new life in Istanbul has been found tortured to death, so badly mutilated that his friends had to identify him by his pants.

According to the report in Pink News, Wisam Sankari was gay — a status not well tolerated in the increasingly conservative society developing in Turkey, led by the Islamist AK (Justice and Development) Party headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

There is also growing resentment among Turkish citizens against Syrian refugees, who are perceived to be a threat to employment and school opportunities for locals and other economic issues in the country.

Sankari arrived in Istanbul, the city once known as Constantinople, about a year ago after fleeing the civil war in Syria. The man was found dead during the last week in July, according to Cumhuriyet and other local news reports, which said his mutilated body was found in Yenikapi.

In fact, “They had cut Wisam violently… so violent that two knives had broken inside him. They had beheaded him. His upper body was beyond recognition, his internal organs were out. We could identify our friend from his pants,” said a friend, Rayan, who spoke with KaosGL.org.

This time they killed the young Syrian refugee, but it was not his first experience with abduction or torture at the hands of a band of men. His friends turned to alleged United Nations human rights advocates, who did nothing. Neither did local police.

“About five months ago a group kidnapped Wisam in Fatih. They took him to a forest, beat him and raped him,” Rayan said. “They were going to kill him but Wisam saved himself by jumping at the road. We complained to the police headquarters but nothing happened.”

Sankari and others had been threatened several times with rape, and more, several times by male groups armed with knives. They also had to leave a house in which they were living due to their obvious sexual orientation. “People around would constantly stare at us,” he said.

Another friend, Gorkem, told KaosGL.org that his friends had warned the victim not to leave the house due to recent threats, but he insisted on leaving “for 15-20 minutes.” When he didn’t return, the group panicked, and went to the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), which sent them to Fatih police headquarters.

“On Sunday police called us,” he said. They took the group of friends to Yenikapi to identify the body. Needless to say, they were horrified. Another friend, “Diya,” talked about also having been kidnapped twice before.

“They let me go in Cerkezkoy and I barely got home one time. I went to the United Nations for my identification but they did not even respond to that. No one cares about us. They just talk. I get threats over the phone.

“It does not matter if you are Syrian or Turkish — if you are gay you are everyone’s target.”

Turkey is currently under a three-month state of emergency after an attempted but failed coup to bring down the government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters last month that the move was aimed at effectively and swiftly taking steps to “eliminate the threat to democracy… the rule of law and the rights and freedom of our citizens.”

Any Syrian refugee will tell the reader, sadly, that such majestic concepts are not intended to cover the safety and well-being of those who fled to Turkey believing it a place in which to take shelter and begin a new life.

That, they discovered, was just another question mark at best.

Hana Levi Julian

New Israel Fund Accuses Israel Of Torture At The United Nations

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Several Israeli and Palestinian organizations, including Adameer, Al-Haq, Adalah, Badil, Defense for Children International, Public Committee against Torture in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights filed shadow reports to the UN Committee Against Torture, claiming that Israel violates the Convention against Torture, to which Israel is a signatory.

On May 1, 2016 Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) announced that “Representatives of civil society are invited every four years to present a shadow report to the Committee, in response to the State Party’s official report…The aim of the report is to bring to the attention of the Committee Against Torture a full and transparent picture regarding the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Israel, in order to protect all citizens and residents of the State of Israel from torture and CIDT – an unacceptable norm which should not exist in well-run countries.

In this alternative report PCATI accuses Israel of torture and IDF soldiers of physically and verbally abusing detainees.  In addition, the organization harshly criticizes the investigation mechanisms of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Israel Police and the Shabak security forces.

 The following are a few examples:  …

  • “In spite of the long-standing criticism of Israel’s use of the “necessity defence” to justify torture in interrogations, this practice is still used extensively and it is employed to nullify any criminal investigations.”
  • “Israel has failed in its basic obligation and commitment not to use torture; it has also failed in its basic obligation and commitment to prosecute offenders, and to provide real and effective safeguards against torture or ill-treatment.”
  • Torture and other ill-treatment by soldiers Violence perpetrated by soldiers against detainees, in both physical and verbal forms, is a far from infrequent phenomenon in the Occupied Territories today. The hundreds of complaints which have reached PCATI in recent years reflect a disturbing norm of intentionally painful shackling, beatings, kicking, assault with batons and rifle butts, and curses and insults directed against the detainees, their family members, and their religion”.

This is not the first time PCATI has leveled these false, harsh allegations against Israel’s security mechanisms. The organization frequently issues accusations of war crimes, with an emphasis on torture, that Israeli security forces ostensibly commit, mainly against Palestinian detainees, and is active in spreading these accusations in the international arena.

Thus, for example, during the wave of Palestinian terror in late 2015, PCATI issued a joint statement with other organizations funded by the New Israel Fund (NIF) according to which, “it seems that too often, instead of acting in a manner consistent with the nature of each incident, police officers and soldiers are quick to shoot to kill. The political and public support for such actions endorses the killing of Palestinians in the Territories and in Israel.”

In September 2015 PCATI published a report titled, “Prosecutorial Indifference – Systematic Failures in the Investigation of Soldier Violence against Detainees in the Palestinian Occupied Territory.”

This report reached the following conclusions:

“…the complaint examination mechanisms in general … are intended to obscure systematic violations of the law. As examination mechanisms they present the façade of adherence to the law, but in practice they systematically obscure violations by the various security forces – each force and its own mechanism for covering up and erasing complaints… the false impression that complaints are investigated grants the individuals and institutions which violate the law a stamp of legal approval… The complaint is examined by an official mechanism in a sophisticated “laundering” process and the suspects are proclaimed “guilt-free.”

The actions of an “examination mechanism” which approves of almost any sin, transgression or crime at the level of the individual interrogator, police serviceperson, commander or soldier, effectively enables the “laundering” of the occupation as well – creating a façade of security forces which adhere to the law. This deceitful image of the “rule of law” has weighty consequences in the national and international public spheres.

During Operation Protective Edge PCATI Executive Director Ishai Menuchin published an article in which he cautioned that: “In order to understand what is happening and what is likely to happen now in Gaza, one has to look back to Lebanon and Operation Cast Lead and recognize the IDF’s new combat method: striking at civilians as a strategic tool…Defense Minister Yaalon would do well to remember, that perhaps contrary to the legal advice he received, systematic strikes against civilian neighborhoods is a war crime even when we [Israel] are doing it.”

Following Operation Protective Edge PCATI submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council. In that report the organization stated that the Shabak systematically tortured Palestinian detainees during their interrogation and that “soldiers and other security forces also use violence, humiliation and sometimes also torture during the arrest and interrogation of Palestinians.

PCATI financial supporters include the Secretariat, a Palestinian fund that receives budgeting from four European countries: Holland, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. The Secretariat supports Israeli and Palestinian organizations that use various means to negate the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. These include calls for a boycott, slandering Israel and the IDF and filing suits for the prosecution of IDF officers abroad. The Secretariat transferred $644,206 to PCATI in 2009-2013 and $356,000 in 2014-2016.

In addition, PCATI receives funding from the American Jewish extremist organization, The New Israel Fund ($209,732 in 2005-2013).

The New Israel Fund supports organizations that accuse Israel of using torture and accuse IDF soldiers of deliberate abuse; publish these allegations openly and include them in the reports they file to United Nations committees. In addition, the organizations claim, by inference, that the report Israel filed on these issues is unreliable, and claim that they are presenting a true, alternative report, ostensibly instead of the one filed by Israel. This work harms the State of Israel gravely.

We continue to appeal to donors to the New Israel Fund to stop funding these activities that harm the State of Israel.  We say today to The Jewish Communal Fund, Julianne Heyman, Alisa Doctoroff, Yaffa & Paul Maritz, and other donors to The New Israel Fund – stop funding this dangerous group of liars.

Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian

PA Arrests Man After Son Curses 9-Year-Old Wife of Mohammed [video]

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Mirroring ISIS in Syria, the Palestinian Authority arrested an Arab resident of Ramallah after he posted a video onto Facebook of his son cursing one of the wives of Muhammad, according to a report in Al-Watan.

The man said he posted it because he was converting from Sunni Islam to Shiite Islam.

In the video, the boy, encouraged by his father, curses Aisha, Muhammad’s 9-year-old third wife whose father, Abu Bakr, was the first Sunni Caliph. The Shiite’s claim Ali was meant to be the Caliph. Aisha is connected to the Hadith’s which are central to the Sunni version of Islam.

The boy’s father should consider himself lucky that the Palestinian Authority, unlike ISIS, will probably only torture and execute him and not his child – though one can never be sure when it comes to those wacky Palestinian Authority Islamists.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel’s Justice Ministry to Criminalize Torture in Interrogations

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Israel’s Justice Ministry is working on a bill to declare torture of suspects during an interrogation a criminal act, Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Dr. Roy Schöndorf (International Law) on Tuesday told a panel of the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva. The proposed new law is yet to receive the endorsement of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked or of AG Avichai Mandelblit, and it will certainly face stiff opposition from the security apparatus and possibly from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

According to Ha’aretz, it isn’t clear at this point whether the proposed law would recognize the Israeli Supreme Court’s allowance for a “ticking bomb” situation.

Recently, in the Duma village arson/murder investigation, the ticking bomb provision was expanded by former AG Yehuda Weinstein to include, essentially, any prisoner out of whom Weinstein wanted to squeeze a confession, or the “ticking shmicking, you make him talk” rule.

Article 1.1 of the Convention against Torture defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

The Committee against Torture (CAT) is a body of human rights experts that monitors implementation of the Convention by State parties. Members are elected to four-year terms by State parties and can be re-elected if nominated.

The Israeli Supreme Court 1999 decision prohibited the use of violent interrogation means, in the absence of a law that sets clear limits in this area. According to that ruling, Shabak interrogators are not allowed to use shaking and creative tying up of prisoners, nor can they use sleep deprivations. But then AG Elyakim Rubinstein issued directives specifying in which cases Shabak interrogators would not be indicted for shaking, tying up and sleep-depriving their prisoners.

Dr. Schöndorf and the rest of the Israeli delegation are expected to appear again on Wednesday before the CAT, to respond to a few concerns raised yesterday by the committee regarding the new legislation.


‘Torture’ Depends on Whether You Are a Suspect or Witness, Says Lawyer

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Written by Alexander J. Apfel for TPS News Agency.

Torture is not always torture, depending on the definition and who is defining it, according to Tel Aviv-based human rights lawyer Yoram Fay.

He explained to TPS that the legal intricacies are more complex than is often understood by a general public less familiar with international law’s rules of interrogation.

Fay stated:

Torture is a matter of definition. If you lock someone in a cell, he might consider it torture because he can’t leave. But it is legal. It is not comfortable, but to some people this is considered torture.

As long as it doesn’t cause irreversible damage, we would consider it to be a lawful tactic.

He further elaborated on other cases which are often interpreted as torture but in fact are legally permissible, such as depriving suspects of sleep for long periods of time, subjecting suspects to loud music, or placing suspects in a cold room.

Fay added:

It is allowed by law even if the person feels tortured. A long investigation which takes 18 hours might feel terrible and as though you are being tortured, but it is allowed and it is not considered torture. In fact, you are allowed to deprive a suspect of sleep for up to 72 hours.

He said that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) does not “do things that are real torture” although “normal people” would think that shouting in your face is a form of torture.

The Shin Bet issued a statement on Thursday that all its actions during the case have been verified by the relevant judicial authorities and it rejected the notion of any misconduct. It also denied allegations recently circulated in the media that one of the suspects had attempted to commit suicide.


TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Thousands Blocking Entrance to Capital Protesting Shabak Torture of Jewish Youths

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Thousands are demonstrating near the Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem, in protest of the unwarranted incognito incarceration and torture of Jewish youths and minors by the Shabak. The protesters are blocking the entrance to the city.

Police arrested six demonstrators and a policeman attacked Makor Rishon news photographer Miri Tzahi, pushing her camera into her face. She was taken to Terem medical center. Her face was covered in blood, according to a TPS report.

A protest against Shabak torture in Jerusalem on Dec. 20, 2015. Photo credit: Moshe Atlo /TPS

A protest against Shabak torture in Jerusalem on Dec. 20, 2015. Photo credit: Moshe Atlo /TPS

An account that made it to Facebook on Sunday revealed that one of the minors being allegedly tortured by the Shabak tried to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. The same minor has reportedly begged the remanding judge throughout his time in Shabak’s hands: “They’re turning my arms into a bow and they hold me upside down until my hands start to burn. Each day it gets worse. Give me poison. I can’t take it any more.”

The minor showed the marks of his suicide attempt to the court on Sunday. He was examined by the district psychiatrist who determined that the minor is under emotional pressure as a result of his interrogation. It was also revealed to the court that the same minor was given pills by the prison doctor because he couldn’t fall asleep as a result of the interrogations and the torture.

The minor told the judge: “I am ready to confess to everything, but I can’t explain how. Just leave me alone, damn it.”

The boy requested medical treatment for his back for the stretching and torture he endured. He burst into tears and said, “I can’t take it any more.”

Attorney Adi Keidar from the legal aid society Honenu who represents this minor said in a statement, “Today we presented to the court the hands of the minor where it can be seen clearly that a suicide attempt had been committed, all of it as a result of the torture he is undergoing in the Shabak interrogations.”

“By the end of the day we have been exposed to the continuation of the terrible saga in which we saw clearly today that everything the suspect has been telling us he already told before the court while being prevented from seeing us. He described all those shocking things and no one responded. This is a shocking event that must worry us, the fact that the court system link arms with the prosecution, the police and Shabak.”

The Honenu organization said in a statement on Sunday: The things that were revealed in this case are shocking and terrifying. The responsible elements have crossed all the lines and decided to spill the blood of Jewish children, plain and simple. This is a spiritual eclipse experienced by the State of Israel.”

The Shabak released a statement saying the report was made up and baseless.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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