Duma suspects' parents demand torture check

Parents of detainees condemn 'hasty arrests and harsh torture to force confessions of a crime our children did not commit.'

Uzi Baruch,

Duma protesters staged alleged ISA torture
Duma protesters staged alleged ISA torture
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Families of the Jewish suspects being interrogated in the lethal Duma arson case from July issued their first joint public statement on Monday, in which they argue the innocence of their loved ones, who reportedly are being brutally tortured by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA).

"We, parents of the youths detained on suspicions in the murder at Duma village, denounce the murder, but are convinced that our children were not involved in it," wrote the parents.

"We fear that the arrest of our children was completely the result of public pressure, which led to hasty arrests and the use of harsh torture, only so that they would confess to a crime they did not commit."

One minor suspect did break down and confess last week after nearly a month of interrogation, but 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.

"We demand the establishment of a parliamentary investigative committee comprised of elected members who will investigate the testimony of the children, view all of the interrogation videotapes, and determine if abuse was committed against our children as they claim, as well as (investigating) the serious humiliation directed towards the families."

"We condemn the tongue-lashing of our children by politicians, and their automatic accusation of them in the Duma murder without trial and without a clarification of the facts," added the parents.

"We call on the public leaders to show public courage and demand an investigation of the torture without bias so as to reach the truth."

The names of the families as well as the number of detainees remains under a media gag order, along with the rest of the details pertaining to the suspects.

The Honenu legal aid organization announced on Saturday night that three of the Jewish suspects being interrogated by the ISA still have not been allowed to see their lawyers, for some roughly a month after their arrest. A hearing is to be held for the suspects on Monday regarding an extension of their administrative arrest.

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.

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.

Honenu on Sunday filed a complaint on the reported torture and abuse being suffered by the suspects.