AG approved 'exceptional steps' for Duma suspects

Deputy Attorney General admits security services have approval to use 'exceptional measures' on Jewish terror suspects.

Matt Wanderman,

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Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has given security services his approval to use "exceptional measures" against the prisoners suspected of being behind the Duma arson and murder.

Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri acknowledged this fact to the Knesset Law and Justice Committee, marking the first time that a government official has openly spoken about the investigation.

"There is no investigation under the cover of darkness and we are not hiding anything. Every activity is accompanied by attorneys, some of them with the authority of the Attorney General," said Nizri, though he added that "We have indeed taken exceptional measures which have brought judicial criticism."

Speaking with Haaretz, Nizri explained that the "exceptional measures" include taking more than 48 hours to bring the prisoners before a judge and extending their sentences without the prisoners being present. He noted that these are not the only measures, but did not specify what else is being done.

Yesterday (Sunday), the Supreme Court approved the government's request to prevent the suspects from speaking to a lawyer, on the ground that doing so could interfere in the investigation.

The suspects, two minors and one adult, have been held by the Shin Bet internal security service (also known as Shabak) for the past two weeks. Their lawyers, from the legal defense organization Honenu, say that two of the three have no criminal records. They added that, regardless of their clients' past history, "preventing meetings between a layer and a suspect was an extreme act which must never be used outside of 'ticking bomb' cases."

This did not sway Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, however, who declared: "I am convinced that due to the severity of the actions allegedly committed by the appellants, and the fear of interference in the investigation of other suspects involved in the case, the balance has yet to change, and that there is room to extend the meeting ban for the suspects."

One suspect's lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, rejected Justice Joubran's reasoning by warning that "It seems like the court gives the Shin Bet investigators too much credit, and the problem is that this kind of behavior may cause an innocent man to confess to a crime he did not commit."

He added, "Sadly, some of the judges ignored the words of the former Supreme Court President, who said that in democracies, the state cannot use all measures against suspects, and in our case we are entering the third week without representation."




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