Lawyer demands Shin Bet torture investigation

Attorney notes charges of Duma suspect torture come from many sources and must be checked, warns confession may be inadmissible.

Benny Tucker ,

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

Attorney Ilan Bombach called on the justice system to investigate the numerous claims against the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), accusing it of brutal torture against the Jewish suspects being held in the lethal Duma arson case.

"I guess that the prime minister generally backs the Shabak (ISA), but it does require a serious check," Bombach told Arutz Sheva. "I hope and believe that the Shabak isn't doing invalid things, but because serious allegations were heard, and they were not heard from just one or two people, this requires a check, because maybe there's a seed of truth here."

The ISA issued a statement on Thursday claiming it has not abused the suspects, but the suspects (through their attorneys) have given testimony to brutal torture, including sleep deprivation, sexual harassment, and extreme physical abuse. One minor suspect broke down under interrogation after nearly a month and admitted to the charges, although the reported abuse raises concerns that the confession may have been false and inadmissible as evidence.

"First of all, there is no value to a confession of this sort," said Bombach. "Because a confession has to be free and from free will, not under threats, pressure or sleep deprivation. On the other hand, if they are using a ruse and spreading all sorts of lies or incorrect assumptions, then there's no problem."

One of the minors told the court earlier this week he tried to commit suicide by slashing his wrists because he could not suffer the treatment any longer and was ready to confess to anything they asked him to just to get the interrogation to stop. The suspect's arms were found to be covered in numerous scars providing further backing to his statements.

The Shin Bet, however, accuses him of fabricating the claim.

The lawyer explained under which circumstances an admission would be considered admissible evidence, and when it would fall under the guidelines of false testimony.

"If [the interrogators] come and promise those under investigation all sorts of things that don't exist, that is still within the realm of the permissible and the court has given that backing in the past," Bombach said, "But torture, pressure and sleep deprivation are invalid means and if there is testimony to them, they must be checked with full seriousness."

"Even those who claim it didn't happen should welcome an investigation of this sort, because these are serious charges. The Shabak is not immune, and in the 1980s we saw that the Supreme Court investigated this type of testimony," he said.

The lawyer concluded by insisting that Arab terrorists should not be tortured either. "Physical and mental torture is not acceptable even in the case of people who want to harm the State of Israel, including terrorists - they should not be tortured either. Certainly against Jews it's also forbidden, even if it is difficult to interrogate them."