Ben Uliel’s attorneys request gag order cancellation

Demonstration of torture method, video snapshot; Video credit: Otzma Yehudit

Monday, March 15, 2021, 18:27 During the week of Sunday, March 7, Amiram Ben Uliel’s attorneys, Yehoshua Reznik and Avigdor Feldman, submitted justifications to the Supreme Court for the appeal on the verdict convicting Ben Uliel of three counts of murder in the Kfar Duma arson case. Ben Uliel’s attorneys have demanded his exoneration, in part because his confessions were extracted under extreme duress (torture).
Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein accepted a request by the Attorney General’s office and authorized a temporary gag order on the justifications for the appeal on Thursday, March 11. In response, Ben Uliel’s attorneys sent an urgent request to the Supreme Court asking for the cancellation of the order. The request states that everything described in the appeal had been cleared for publication previously, and there is no mention of the classified means of interrogation which the GSS applied to Ben Uliel.
In the request the attorneys mentioned that “everything that appears and is quoted in the appeal is from a decision in the trial within a trial that was cleared for publication. In the appeal there is no specifying, referring to or mention of the confidential parts. The revealed parts are sufficient for the appellant to indicate the fundamental revolting and stomach-turning nature of the torture applied to him.”
The request quotes the decision from the trial within a trial that was cleared for publication: “I [the presiding judge] am of the opinion that it is not possible to accept the confessions of the defendants that were given during the ‘necessary interrogations’ in the matter at hand as admissible evidence. The ‘special means’ that were applied violated the rights of the defendants to bodily integrity and mental dignity and included physical violation, emotional pressure, and elements of humiliation and violation of dignity.”
Another quote from the trial within a trial: “Examination of the means that were applied, their frequency and the duration of their application, likewise the description by the defendants and the interrogators of the interrogations, necessitates ruling that there was a severe violation of the most basic fundamental rights. This violation necessitates invalidating the confessions in the matter at hand, even without examining the influence in practice of the means on the free will of the interrogees.”
The request states that there were no grounds for issuing the gag order because the appeal refers only to the revealed ruling by the Central District Court, and the claim by the Attorney General’s office that the appeal includes details of confidential means of interrogation is not true. The attorneys stressed that the confidential parts of the decision have not been transferred to them, and moreover “they did not request those parts because they did not have any need for them in the appeal.”
Therefore, they are asking the court to order the cancellation of the temporary gag order on the justifications for the decision. The attorneys stated that the request by the Attorney General’s office for the gag order misled the court to assume that the appeal included mention of means or methods of interrogation which were not included in the decision which was previously cleared for publication.
To reiterate, last week Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein accepted the request from the Attorney General’s office and issued a temporary gag order on the justifications for the appeal by Amiram Ben Uliel to the court. In the decision, Justice Stein ruled that within a week the Attorney General’s office must specify for which clauses in the appeal they intend to request a permanent gag order. This is an extremely unusual request from the Attorney General’s office.
Since the July 2015 arson attack on the Dawabshe family’s house in Kfar Duma, Honenu has assisted many Jews accused of involvement with the crime. For a selection of posts describing Honenu Attorneys’ representation of defendants and GSS interrogees, see here. To familiarize our readers with the case, Honenu has gathered – see here – various articles and short videos on the subject.

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