The Duma Scandal: Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

David Rubin,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
David Rubin
David Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children"s Fund, and the author of five books, including The Islamic Tsunami and his latest, More Sparks From Zion. For more info, click on these links: www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org...

In every country that protects the legal rights of its citizens, the maxim “innocent until proven guilty” is an iron-clad pillar of law and is fiercely protected by political and legal authorities. Therefore, the seeming departure from that norm when it occurs in a country like Israel is particular disturbing.

In July of 2015, there was an arson attack on a home in the Samarian town of Duma, in which an Arab couple and their infant son were killed. After the attack, and despite the fact that no arsonist was found at the scene of the crime, it was quickly announced by the Israeli police and later by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, among others, that Jews were the perpetrators of the crime. Several young Jews were quickly taken into custody without being formally charged. These were followed by others, including minors, again with no formal charge.

After some six months in secret solitary confinement, during which time hardly any visits by legal counsel have been permitted, facts are being to emerge, not of any serious evidence pertaining to the crime, evidence which appears to be non-existent, but of horrific acts being carried out by the Israeli Shabak (Internal Security Agency) as part of their investigation of the Duma crime. It now seems increasing apparent that some of the young men and teenaged boys in custody are being subjected to severe forms of torture, behavior virtually unheard of in a democratic society. One of the minors reportedly has attempted to commit suicide after a particularly vicious torture session. Damning audio evidence has surfaced of the suspect begging for mercy and revealing several torture methods - including being tied upside down till his hands burned, being kept awake all night, and having his back pummeled to the point of needing medical attention.

Attorney Adi Keidar, after finally meeting his young client, revealed that senior investigators often come in and beat him cruelly in sensitive body organs, until at a certain point he doesn't feel anything anymore, including kicks and slaps."

Keidar also provided testimony regarding another suspect, saying, "he was prevented from sleeping for three days. The investigators started pulling his head back and he threw up violently. After he saw a doctor who said he needs rest, they continued the abuse."

As has been expressed by most Israelis many times since the Duma attack was announced, the culprits, whether they are Jews or Muslims, should be punished severely for the crime in Duma, but it now appears that a different crime is being perpetrated by those who are being entrusted to protect the public from criminals. With no evidence against the young Jews, who have been incarcerated for months with no formal charges in place, it appears that we are witnessing a travesty of justice that is more fitting in the most oppressive of dictatorships.

Would such torture and abuse of the fundamental presumption of innocence be carried out against the many Muslim terrorists who have, amid abundant concrete evidence, been launching daily terror attacks against Israeli citizens? I think not. In fact, it’s absolutely obscene to equate the two legal situations, but that is what common sense observers and ordinary citizens are being forced to do.

I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon to prove that we are, indeed, an integral part of the free world, by immediately freeing these young Jewish prisoners for lack of evidence, and then commissioning an independent investigation into the apparently abhorrent conduct of the legal-political authorities in the handling of this case.