Daily Israel Report

Israel Considering Making 'Prisoner X' Report Public

The Prosecution is considering making public the report which determined that "Prisoner X" committed suicide while in prison.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/17/2013, 4:33 AM

Ayalon jail, where Zygier was held.
Ayalon jail, where Zygier was held.
Reuters

The State Prosecutor is considering making public the report which determined that "Prisoner X" Ben Zygier committed suicide while in prison, it was reported on Saturday night.

The report in question was authored by Justice Daphna Blatman-Kedrai, president of the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court, and it concluded that the cause of Zygier’s death was suicide.

According to reports in Israeli media, the Justice Ministry is looking into ways in which to make the findings public. This could happen as soon as this week.

Last week Israel lifted parts of a gag order over the Prisoner X affair, allowing media outlets to reveal that there was indeed an Israeli citizen, who held foreign citizenship as well, and who was held in an Israeli prison under a false name.

The prisoner was given a false name for security reasons but his real family had been informed of his whereabouts. He also had lawyers who were aware of his situation.

The prisoner “was found dead in his cell two years ago,” state sources indicated. “One and a half months ago an investigation concluded that the death was a suicide.”

“The file was passed to the state prosecution to determine if there had been criminal negligence.”

Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said Saturday evening that the steps taken against "Prisoner X" were necessary in order to save lives.

"We are a unique country in terms of our security situation," Yaalon told Channel 2's Meet the Press."

Asked why Zygier was arrested, he said, "Out of considerations of pikuach nefesh [the halakhic precept that refers to the saving of lives], we needed to take such a step.

"If we reached this situation, there must have been a misstep that required steps to be taken with proper consideration and under full monitoring."

Yaalon stressed that Zygier's relatives in Australia and the Australian authorities were updated in real time about developments regarding Zygier.

"The state of Israel is not a dark regime. Every suicide in jail necessitates an investigation and this is what happened in this case, too. We know how to learn lessons," said Yaalon.

The Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that Israel has agreed to pay millions in compensation to Zygier’s family.

A source told the newspaper that Israel agreed to pay millions of shekels several weeks ago, after an investigation concluded that Zygier’s death had been a suicide and before the affair was exposed by the Australian media.