Exposé
Duma detainee 'tried to commit suicide'

Recordings exposed of youth arrested in Duma case begging to be killed, scars found all along arms. ISA denies wrongdoing.

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Ido Ben-Porat, | updated: 20:41

Duma arson proceedings (illustrative)
Duma arson proceedings (illustrative)
Yoni Kempinski

Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) abuse of the suspects in the Duma arson case was so cruel that one suspect attempted to commit suicide, it was revealed during a court hearing Sunday. 

One of the youths the ISA arrested in the controversial case showed signs of depression before the court hearing, it was revealed Sunday, and the district psychiatrist ordered him under close observation. The psychiatric counselor determined that the suicidal suspect had been driven into severe depression and traumatic stress as a result of the investigation; he also had been prescribed sleeping pills by a doctor in his detention center due to sleep deprivation related to interrogation and torture. 

The youth begged Justice Erez Nurieli at every court session to have mercy and release him from the ISA due to the treatment, it was also revealed. 

"I beg Your Honor, I cannot endure this," the youth stated, in a recording that was played back to the boy's family. "Does the court have a way to control the investigation?"

"They hung me upside down by hands and burned them," he continued. "I feel like they're burning me up."

"Every day it gets worse and I don't know what tomorrow will bring." 

Testimony also revealed that the ISA kicked the youth in the chest while he was handcuffed with his head bent, stopping him from breathing for a few minutes. He was also kicked several more times. 

At the time, the youth asked to consult with his lawyer, and was refused; he was also forced to listen to music on Shabbat as he was interrogated, which is forbidden on Shabbat day.

The torture only grew worse, he revealed, to the point where the ISA kept him up most nights torturing him. They repeatedly demanded names and a confession, with the youth stating repeatedly that he has none to offer because he is not involved in the case. 

Among other things, the ISA spent an entire night flogging the youth's back, he said, and begged the judge for medical treatment and legal counsel. The judge asked if the youth was taking the psychiatric medication prescribed to him, but he responded that the cure is not a pill to numb the pain, but stopping the torture. 

"I would confess to everything, but I don't know how - I don't have what to tell them," he cried. He added that while he had a lawyer working on his behalf, the legal counsel was useless without the right to meet with him personally. "My lawyer has no idea what to do with me, since they hit my back all night," he said. "I asked them, 'kill me - give me poison.' Your Honor, I cannot endure anymore." 

The youth was later found with scars on his hands and arms, attempts to open up veins. 

"We presented today in court the youth's hands, which clearly show he made a suicide attempt - and all due to the investigation and interrogations he has undergone from the ISA," Attorney Adi Keidar, from legal rights organization Honenu, fired Sunday.

"In addition, today we exposed the continuation of the horrible conditions [he underwent], when it was made clear to us today that what the suspect argued before us, is claimed to have been during his detention before the courts."

"It's a horrible thing that should concern us that the justice system is arm-in-arm with police and the ISA prosecution," he added. 

The ISA insisted late Sunday night that the organization, as a government organization, conducts all interrogations according to the letter of the law. 

"ISA interrogations are conducted in accordance with the law and case law, and are overseen by the Attorney General, the State Attorney's Office and the courts," it said. "The claim that one of the detainees tried to commit suicide is baseless."