(JNi.media) Legal aid organization Hunenu attorney Adi Keidar told a news conference Thursday evening that his client, a minor, one of the Duma Village Arson suspects, was finally allowed to meet with him, after three weeks of incognito incarceration—the maximum allowed by Israeli law—and that the same client complained that the Shabak, including senior officers, are resorting to unprecedented, violent means against the detained youths.
Attorney Keidar said that when he met his client on Thursday he could hardly recognize him because of the extreme violence the boy had suffered. “He was deprived of sleep for three days, his hands and feet are handcuffed. Senior interrogators come into his cell and commit cruel attacks in sensitive organs in his body, until at a certain point he no longer felt anything, including the kicks and the slaps,” Keidar said. He continued, “The interrogators started to stretch his head back and he had a severe bout of vomiting. After seeing him, a doctor said he should rest, but they continued the abuse.”
Keidar also insisted that the investigation did not crack the Duma arson case.
The minor’s meeting with attorney Keidar was done with both of them separated by a glass window, as is usually done with the most dangerous terrorists, Keidar reported.
Attorney David Halevy told the press conference that the gag order on the case was designed only to conceal from the media the outrageous behavior of Shabak.
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who also represents one of the detainees said: “According to the material in our hands, the Duma murders have not yet been solved. The State of Israel boasts that it’s a democracy, but this is a black day for the State of Israel.” Ben-Gvir also complained that “Shabak interrogators are abusing and beating up and none of them has to account for it. We demand of the judges to stop the interrogations. We demand that this abuse will end.”
The lawyers added that the bodies of detainees they had met showed signs of severe violence and, according to detainees, in recent days, when the Shabak interrogators realized that they had no incriminating evidence against them in connection with the Duma arson, they stepped up the violence. The detainees were blindfolded, with their hands and feet tied, and were beaten and tortured severely.
Attorney Avihai Hajbi told the news conference that “justice must be pursued with righteous means (“Tzedek, tzedek tirdof”). They paint as if it were a justified investigation and they give Shabak all the leeway. But that’s not even close to the reality. There are physical injuries and mental injuries. All the red lines have been crossed and the courts and the judges will have to examine it.”
Attorney Keider sounded convinced when he said, “The Duma case is dying and it’s going to end soon. We’re sorry to disappoint Bogie [Ya’alon].” He suggested “maybe some detainees confessed to other events, but my understanding is they did not admit anything. There are versions by the suspects on other events, which they confessed to after being tortured and we understand that these suspects would say anything just to avoid returning to the Shabak abuse.”
The mother of one of the detainees, a minor, collapsed in court on Wednesday and was taken for treatment in Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva.
The Shabak on Thursday night issued a response, saying that it is “a national organization whose mission is thwarting terrorist threats, and all its activities are carried out in accordance with statutory provisions and case law, and are subject to strict regulation.”
The Shabak statement added that recently they’ve “investigated a Jewish terrorist organization whose activists are suspected of serious terrorist attacks. The network is characterized by an extreme, anti-Zionist ideology advocating the violent changing of the state’s system of government. In light of the significant security threat and the Shabak’s duty to prevent further attacks, several key activists in this terrorist organization were detained for questioning and they have been interrogated intensively.” The statement also said that “since the arrests have been carried out there has been a proactive, ongoing effort to discredit the Shabak and its staff and disrupt their operational activities. This experience deserves to be condemned and will not discourage the Shabak.”
Of course, knowing that two out of the three suspects receiving intensive interrogation are young teens makes it difficult to imagine them as violent terrorists, but should the Shabak come up with proof, other than forced confessions, it would succeed in repairing a worrisome crack in Israel’s rule of law.