Graffiti at Duma arson site
Graffiti at Duma arson site Flash 90

The mother of one of three suspects being held over the deadly arson at the Palestinian village of Duma in July has written an open letter to the citizens of Israel, in which she accuses Israeli security forces of seriously abusing her son despite him having no connection to the murder.

The full letter was seen by Arutz Sheva, and has been translated into English in full (see below). The identity of the suspects - two minors and an adult - and their families are the subject of a court-imposed gag order.

Few details are known about the case's progress due to the gag order, but the treatment of the suspects has received much criticism in Israel; among other things, they have been denied legal representation and at least one of them - whose relatives penned the letter below - has allegedly been denied medical treatment in custody.

For their part, authorities claim such extraordinary measures are necessary given the severity of the crimes and the potential for interference in the case. However, the defendants' attorneys argue such measures are almost without precedent, even against Arab terrorists suspected of similar or worse crimes.

One suspect was recently released to house arrest due to lack of evidence, and after a massive public outcry from his friends, family and neighbors.

To our brothers, the Children of Israel,

As citizens of the State of Israel and with the aching heart of a loving and concerned family, we appeal to you (concerning) a family member - a young man of 18 years - detained for the past two weeks at the Shabak (Shin Bet internal security) facility.

Shabak interrogators are trying to tie our son to the arson which occurred during the summer at the village of Duma. 

It should be noted that we know with certainty that on the night of the arson he was at a different location, so it is clear to us that he is not connected to what happened in Duma. For two weeks he has been interrogated day and night; he has not been permitted to meet a lawyer or to speak with his family, and they have denied him medical treatment which he needs.

For two weeks already they have denied him his basic rights required by law. Moreover they do not always permit him to pray or to lay tefillin, and last week they even prevented him from lighting Hanukkah candles. For two weeks we have not seen him or heard from him, and we don't even know where he is or whether he received the basic personal items his family passed on via the Prosecution Service.

As citizens of the State of Israel we are shocked and embarrassed in the face of this blatant trampling of every basic human right of a young man against whom no indictment has been served, and who the justice authorities know has an alibi concerning the suspicions alleged against him.

We are making an effort to turn to the relevant authorities and to do everything in our power to help him receive his rights and to prove, with the help of God, his innocence.

We saw just last week how the mobilization of the entire community of Kochav Hashachar in support of a resident of the community who was also arrested and interrogated at the Shabak facility availed, and he was release to his home on Shabbat eve (Friday).

We ask everyone in whom a Jewish heart beats to join our efforts, to turn to public figures, to do whatever they can to protest from every stage the terrible crime taking place in the democratic State of Israel.