Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Israeli police restrain protesters calling for the release of Amiram Ben Uliel, September 1, 2022.

Amiram Ben Uliel, who was convicted of the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the Arab village of Duma, on Sunday filed a lawsuit against the Shin Bet for more than NIS 5 million (roughly $1.5 million) for the torture he underwent during his interrogation and the mental damage he suffered as a result of it. Ben Uliel is represented by Honenu legal aid society attorney Menashe Yado.

Ben Uliel, accused of murdering the Dawabsheh family on July 31, 2015, was convicted on May 18, 2020. In January 2016, a senior defense official told Israel Radio that it would have been impossible to “solve” the Duma village case without the use of torture and continuous physical pressure. According to the official, who wished to remain anonymous, all the actions taken against the two defendants in the case, one of them a minor, were approved by the Supreme Court.


In the lawsuit, Attorney Yado describes the torture that was used on Ben Uliel in the attempt by the Shin Bet to extract from him a confession about the arson in Duma. Yado points out that barring a court decision to allow the publication of the severe physical torture methods the plaintiff underwent, he won’t be able to show the court the extent of the clandestine agency’s criminal behavior. However, even at this stage, it is already possible to publicize the severe injuries his client endured in the period preceding the torture:

“The plaintiff was subjected to humiliation; prolonged shackling without legal justification; cold showers; winter nights without a coat; abuse of his religious sentiments by the intentional and prolonged playing of women’s singing; women interrogators intentional touching the plaintiff’s body; verbal threats; violence; and severe profanity. The torture caused great damage to the plaintiff, his body, his feelings, his right to his body, his autonomy, his right to remain silent during the interrogation, his right to choose and shape the course of his life without illegal pressure.”

Attorney Yado concluded: “As a result of the torture, the plaintiff was forced to give an incriminating version of the events, which the plaintiff is denying to this day, which was the sole grounds over which the plaintiff was sentenced to prolonged life imprisonment. He has suffered severe mental harm to this day.”

Attorney Yado said after filing the lawsuit: “The decision to interrogate Amiram using physical torture blatantly breached the protection afforded by the law to those being interrogated, and this lawsuit aims to do corrective justice in this aspect with Amiram, and in the process to put in their proper place the limits of the prohibition against torturing those being investigated in Shin Bet investigations.”

On December 31, 2015, Haaretz reported: “Sources close to the investigation” that then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein confirmed in “a concrete and personal” manner an order to torture the detainees in the Duma case. The sources said that Weinstein had given his approval to use torture in interrogating the suspects after the police had informed him their investigation was stuck in the mud. According to the same sources, except for one suspect, a minor, who gave only partial information to informants, the rest of the suspects remained silent in their interrogations. Under these circumstances, the attorney general decided to allow the Shin Bet to use “special measures.”

Weinstein’s alleged approval violated the torture protocol established by Justice Elyakim Rubinstein after the High Court banned the use of these methods in 1999. According to Rubinstein, the Attorney General does not have the authority to allow Shin Bet interrogators to use physical means in specific cases, but only to inform them how far they can go without risking his putting them on trial. Weinstein, according to the sources, gave concrete permission to torture the suspects because they refused to incriminate themselves.

In addition, Rubinstein confirmed at the time the Shin internal consultation procedures regarding the cases where the use of physical pressure was permitted. Apparently, Weinstein was not supposed to pre-approve such methods, but he may have told interrogators that should they use the excessive interrogation methods on the Duma suspects he guaranteed they would not be tried.


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