'No Duma arson suspect attempted suicide'

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked the latest to defend ISA, says she 'was told' interrogations were 'under the law.'

Hezki Baruch, | updated: 14:56

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) became the latest to defend the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) Tuesday, denying a host of allegations that the intelligence agency severely abused suspects in the Duma arson case. 

"Since complaints were brought to my attention [over the ISA], I have been in close contact with the Legal Advisory, the State Prosecutor, and the head of the ISA to make sure red lines were not crossed," Shaked stated, during a visit to the Civil Administration base between Beit El and Ramallah. "Every procedure was carried out under the close supervision of the judicial system and under the law." 

"It is important that the public knows that the three detainees have already seen a lawyer and are in decent medical condition," she continued. "I was told that they are checked regularly by a doctor."

Shaked then denied the audio testimony that one of the suspects attempted suicide under the pressure. 

"In addition, I am told that, contrary to the claims and publications in the media, there has not been a suicide attempt by one of the detainees," she said. 

Mounting evidence

Earlier Tuesday, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir revealed that the ISA may have sexually abused the main suspect in the case during the course of the interrogation, amid a string of already-damning evidence mounting against the intelligence body. 

Outrage over the handling of the Duma case has snowballed after it was revealed the suspects had reportedly been refused basic religious rights such as lighting Hanukkah candles, been banned from seeing their lawyers or family, and that at least one has been denied medical treatment after being beaten during arrest.

Damning audio evidence released earlier this week during a court hearing included one suspect testifying he attempted suicide and begging for the ISA to kill him. 

Civil rights groups have called for the ISA to be investigated over the torture, which - if proven - may run contrary to Israeli law. In one case, the ISA was found to have illegally detained one of the suspects, a minor, for longer than the 20 days mandated by law. 

But several politicians have suddenly defended the ISA on Tuesday, including Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - both claiming the ISA operated under law. 








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