Duma suspect's father: 'Inquisition-like torture'

Concerned father speaks about the brutal torture his son is undergoing, and the systemic effort to extract a false admission.

Shimon Cohen,

'Inquisition,' 'Jews don't torture Jews'
'Inquisition,' 'Jews don't torture Jews'
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The father of one of the Jewish suspects being investigated in the lethal Duma arson case told Arutz Sheva about the horrific torture his son is undergoing at the hands of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA).

Identifying details of the suspects and their families is under a media gag order, but on condition of anonymity the father spoke about the trying experience.

"Our son was on house arrest for three-and-a-half months, and on a Wednesday, 25 days ago, large forces arrived at our house and summoned him to investigation," he said.

The father said he asked the forces what his son was being brought in for, and was told that he had breached the house arrest order. After testifying to them that he hadn't done so, and noting that detectives arrived at all hours of the day to confirm that, the father was told that they wanted to bring him in anyway, and "since then until yesterday I didn't see him."

The late reunion occurred in court, as an ISA request to extend the arrest and investigation was accepted. This was only the second time he had been allowed to be at court and see anyone aside from an ISA investigator.

The concerned father said he and his family had gotten the impression that the ISA was using the Duma arson to harm the "hilltop youth" who are active in increasing the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. "We knew that our son wasn't involved in this story at all, and when we found out that his name was being connected with the incident we were completely shocked."

"Terror family"?

When he asked the ISA why his son is being treated so harshly and not being allowed to see a lawyer, "the laconic answer we received was that according to the laws against terrorists it is permissible to extend an arrest for 21 days without meeting a lawyer."

"To that they added an exemption from bringing our son to the court in order to clarify that he isn't undergoing torture and abuse, and here they issued an order that as far as we understand was legislated against 'ticking bombs,'" he said, in reference to terrorists who are estimated to be likely to launch a lethal attack at any moment.

"There is a law but it was legislated...for a specific goal, and it is being manipulated in a twisted, and I would say evil, manner, in order to use it for a goal that it isn't meant for."

Speaking about the Duma arson in July, he said, "this is a murder that was committed five months ago and it is clear to us all that the Shabak (ISA) doesn't know who committed it, or at the least knows that our son and the other boys certainly aren't connected to this issue, and nevertheless they are using this law against our children."

He said that he and his wife, as well as other family members, have also been arrested as part of the investigation in an apparent attempt to intimidate.

"The core of the matter is that the Shabak identifies us as the family of a murderer terrorist, and therefore our treatment is like that of the family of a terrorist who murders Jews," he said, noting that from the ISA's perspective "there's a Jewish terrorist who has support from his parents and therefore they also must be investigated, humiliated and punished."

He noted he was arrested on his way to a synagogue on charges of "disrupting investigation processes," had his fingerprints and picture taken, and was even told by an investigator "that I'm connected to a terror organization as far as he's concerned."

Noting that the suspects should be innocent until proven guilty, the father said that in court "my son told the judge 'I'm ready to admit to whatever they tell me just so they stop abusing me.' That's the most awful thing here."

Return of the Inquisition

The father has received phone calls from many people who are shocked by the ISA investigation, and who "can't sleep at night and can't eat when they hear this testimony."

One of the torture methods his son is enduring, according to the father, is to have his hands and legs put in handcuffs and then be seated on a chair with no backrest, being forced to lean backwards and support his back on his own until he gives a confession.

He said they also told him to sign a confession, at which point he said he couldn't because he didn't commit the arson; the investigators then returned him to the torture.

The father said the methods are "like the torture methods of the Inquisition."

"They've used every pressure against him just so that he admit to something he didn't do. This is shocking, to think that in the state of Israel they use measures like this against an innocent person."

He noted that it should be clear to all that at the end of the torture even if an admission is obtained, it should have no value in court given that it was extracted under extreme torture, and at the very least should have no value according to the public's opinion.

A system gone awry

All ranks of the law enforcement system are complicit in the attempt to force the suspects into an admission, according to the concerned father, who noted how the president and various ministers rushed to condemn "Jewish terror," but "don't address the possibility that maybe this was an assassination between (warring) clans in Duma."

"When a Jew is murdered they check if it was criminal and only several days afterwards they report that it was nationalist (i.e. terrorism - ed.) Here the president spoke for hours about how 'my people chose the path of terror,' and the defense minister talks about how those who committed the crime are in our hands and we're just missing the evidence."

He also condemned the judges who give the brutal investigation a free pass.

"Most of the suspects have a proven alibi, but that doesn't interest them," he said, accusing the ISA of trying to save its own prestige over the very public lethal arson case that it has yet to solve.

The father spoke about the protest at the entrance to Jerusalem on Sunday night, which was repeated on Monday.

He noted that people of all political backgrounds arrived, including a kibbutz member who said he couldn't stay at home in light of the investigation, and noted with encouragement that "wide sections of the people of Israel haven't been bought by the brainwashing."

In response, the ISA said in a statement that it is investigating central members of the "terror organization" to prevent a potential loss of life, and claimed that the investigation is within the scope of the law.