Three Duma suspects still haven't seen a lawyer

Honenu asks to see clients to learn what they are suspected of, and check for torture; 15-year-old arrested on unknown suspicions.

Ari Yashar,

Lawyers of Duma suspects
Lawyers of Duma suspects
Ben Kalmer/Flash 90

The Honenu legal aid organization announced on Saturday night that three of the Jewish suspects being interrogated by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) over the lethal Duma arson still have not been allowed to see their lawyers, for some roughly a month after their arrest.

In its statement, Honenu began by announcing that Judea-Samaria district police and ISA forces arrested a 15-year-old minor at his home in the Binyamin region of Samaria on Saturday night.

The minor apparently will not be prevented from seeing an attorney, but it remains unclear on what suspicions he was arrested, as no charges have been presented against him - it would appear he is being detained as part of the Duma case.

Regarding the three Duma suspects who have not yet been allowed to see their lawyers, Honenu stated that it has not yet been revealed what exactly they are suspected of, and how their interrogation is being conducted.

One of the minor detainees in the case is to be brought to the Lod District Court on Sunday, and on Monday all of the detainees in the case are to be brought for a hearing at the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court.

That hearing comes as a period of 30 days under detention winds down since the first arrest, reaching the legal limits of the detention. It is anticipated that indictments will be submitted on the case on Monday.

"We follow with concern the ongoing management of the interrogation towards two detainees who underwent torture and serious violence, and an additional detainee who underwent shaking and violence against him," said Honenu, revealing reports on the interrogation against several of the detainees.

"We hope that the prevention of meeting (an attorney) for the three additional detainees will be lifted quickly so that we can have their condition confirmed, and so as to know what are the suspicions against them, and whether they also suffered torture during the investigation."

Administrative detention

Last week the Petah Tikva District Court found that the ISA illegally detained one of the suspects, a minor, for longer than the 20 days mandated by the counter-terror law. 

The suspects are being held under administrative detention - a measure which allows security forces to hold an individual without evidence or trial. However, even under administrative detention a minor can only be held for a maximum of 20 days, at which point the Attorney General needs to personally sign off on their continued detention.

While the ISA issued a statement last Thursday claiming it has not abused the suspects, the suspects have described brutal abuse, including sleep deprivation, sexual harassment, and extreme physical abuse.

Last week 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. Prior to the confession, officials admitted there was no evidence against the suspects.

One minor suspect told the court last 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 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.

Psychologists and social workers have issued a petition to stop the reported torture they argue is illegal under Israeli law, and likewise civil rights groups have called to investigate the ISA over the apparently illegal torture.