The Lod District Court on Tuesday ruled that in the case of the minor defendant, who is accused of being an accessory to the arson/murder of a family of three in the Duma Village in 2015, all his confessions are disqualified, having been given under intense torture which caused his mental condition to deteriorate to the point where he required medical treatment.
During the hearing, the judge said that “the use of the [excessive] means (the state’s euphemism for torture) severely violated the rights of the defendants.”
The confessions made by the adult defendant, Amiram Ben Uliel, under torture were likewise rejected by the court. However, Ben Uliel’s other confessions, which the court ruled were given voluntarily later in the interrogation were valid.
Regarding the “trick” pulled on the accused minor by his interrogators, placing him inside a replica of a prison amidst fake violent prisoners who threatened his life, the court ruled the method legitimate, siding with the prosecution which argued that no threats had been made against the suspect in that scenario.
Meanwhile, the State Prosecutor’s Office, whose job has just been made very difficult by today’s ruling, announced that the trial would continue.
Attorney Zion Amir, who represents the minor, said following the court’s ruling regarding his client that “the prosecution will have no choice, it will have to cancel the indictment.”
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel also welcomed the ruling, stating: “We welcome the court’s decision to reject the use of torture by the Shabak in this investigation. It would be appropriate that a statement in this spirit should appear in court rulings in cases with a lower media profile, even when the tortured suspects are Palestinians. This is a legally and morally corrupt practice that is contrary to international law.”
On that point, the State Prosecutor’s Office warned that if the court adopts the defendants’ claims about torture, it would make it difficult to prosecute Arab terrorists and may even lead to appeals of previous convictions.
Shall we call this one the Dungeon Master’s Argument?
The minor’s father, who was interviewed in February by The Jewish Press Online (Seeking Confession at All Costs, Israeli Court, AG, Endorsed Torture of Jewish-American Minor) responded to the ruling stating: “We are pleased that justice was done and the court ruled that our son had nothing to do with the story of the Duma incident. The court’s decision confirms what we claimed all along, that our son was severely tortured during the interrogations.
“In addition to the court’s determination that our son’s free will was taken away, the torture caused him post-traumatic phenomena that he suffers to this day. We are steadfast in our demand for an immediate and independent commission of inquiry to investigate the torture and the legal approval given to them.
“We demand the immediate release of our son from his harsh detention and from the absolute isolation in which he lives today. These are the most difficult conditions in the State of Israel.”
Nothing that a $300 million miscarriage of justice suit couldn’t fix.