Earlier on Sunday we reported that a plea bargain had been struck between the prosecution and the minor A, the co-defendant in the Duma village arson-murder case that took place July 31, 2015. We also reported that, according to the plea bargain, the minor was going to confess to some price tag violations, but would be completely exonerated regarding the three murders in the Duma case.
The Shin Bet later in the day issued a response, stating: “As part of the legal proceedings in the matter of the minor accused of conspiring to carry out the attack in Duma, the defendant confessed today to his involvement in carrying out the attack, in which three members of the Dawabsha family were murdered. The defendant’s confession was given after he had argued throughout the entire process that he had nothing to do with the Duma attack and gave a false confession only because of the conditions he endured during his interrogation.”
The Shin Bet also decided to represent the prosecution’s view on the case, stating: “As part of its arguments for sentencing, the state will seek to make the minor’s punishment more severe, in view of the harsh consequences of the conspiracy in which he was involved,” and insisted that meanwhile “the trial of Amiram Ben Uliel, who is accused of committing the actual murders, continues.”
The Shin Bet statement quite clearly either contradicts the earlier version of events as reported in the Israeli press, or alters the components of the story to produce a new, possibly misleading version of the same plea bargain, ignoring the report that the prosecution deal sets 5 years as the top sentence for A, and the fact that the parts connecting A to the murder were dropped from the charges.
Legal aid society Honenu attorney Adi Keidar, representing A, issued this statement on Sunday, ahead of the Shin Bet attempt at face saving:
“The indictment and the plea bargain that were submitted to the court today are the result of the precedent-setting decision of the court, which rejected the confessions and ruled that the confessions were forced out of the defendant through the use of severe violence, about which the court harshly criticized the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Shin Bet.
“In general, any plea bargain is not free of difficulties, including this arrangement, but is by its nature an agreement between two legal parties that have reached an arrangement, and we stand behind the arrangement. The considerations were very clear.
“The first consideration that was stated clearly in court, and which was a deal-breaker for the defendant and his family, is the fact that this plea bargain and the amended indictment do not tie [our client] to defendant number 1 (Amiram Ben Uliel – DI), whom we hope and pray would also be acquitted of everything attributed to him.
“The second element that underlies our considerations is the future plans to try to rehabilitate the wounds that physically and mentally were inflicted [on our client] by the Shin Bet interrogators.
“In the end, anyone who compares [the original and current] indictments sees they are completely different from one another, [whereby the new indictment mentions] no damage to even a hair of any person, and [our client] is completely divorced from the murder in Duma, so that after three and a half years, it’s time for the defendant to try to rehabilitate himself, he is looking forward to be rehabilitated [medically and mentally] and we hope and pray that when the time comes, [our client] will be able to share with you the horrors he endured at the hands of his Shin Bet interrogators.”