Ben Uliel’s attorneys request investigative material

Demonstration of torture methods; Photo credit: Otzma Yehudit

Monday, March 8, 2021, 11:41 Attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Yehoshua Reznik, who are representing Amiram Ben Uliel in the Kfar Duma trial, filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting that the court order the Central District Attorney’s office to reveal to Ben Uliel’s defense team investigative material that was not transferred in the case, including content from the meeting between senior members of the Central District Attorney’s office and also to reveal the GSS regulations with regards to the “special means”, a euphemism for torture, which were used during interrogations.
The petition is part of an appeal by Ben Uliel to the Supreme Court on the verdict convicting him of three counts of murder. The requested material will be used as part of the proof that the “special means” were used in violation of the law. The court demanded a reply from the Central District Attorney’s office by the following day.
One of the claims which the attorneys have prepared for the appeal is that the “necessary interrogations” which Ben Uliel underwent, which included torture and brutality, were conducted in violation of the law, thus his confessions were extracted under duress and therefore are not admissible in court.
From the request sent to the Central District Attorney’s office: “The currently requested material will assist the defense in refuting the claim that the interrogation of the defendant had been a ‘necessary interrogation’, in other words it passed through the pinhole of ‘necessary’, prima facie left open by High Court of Justice Petition 5100/94, verdict on torture. In the appeal it is claimed, also on the basis of the requested material, that it had not been a ‘necessary interrogation’, because ‘the ticking time bomb’ fortunately never existed.”
The attorneys also claimed that everyone involved with the interrogation, including the Attorney General and his deputy, had known that it was not a ‘necessary interrogation’, rather its purpose was “to take advantage of the last days of the prohibition to meet with an attorney, before the appellant’s attorney could enter the picture and prevent the ‘necessary interrogation’ and the use of torture to extract a confession from the appellant.”
The requested material includes the minutes and the letter of agreement from the meeting in the GSS Headquarters which Attorney Raz Nizri, the Deputy Attorney General, mentioned on Uvda (an Israeli investigative and current affairs television program) in January 2020, and also documentation of the report to the then Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, concerning the use of torture and reports of the results of the interrogation which were received as the torture was applied.
Additionally, Ben Uliel’s attorneys have requested material connected to internal GSS orders regarding “necessary interrogations”, including the regulations for applying “special means” during interrogation, the authorization required for them and the fundamental nature of the “special means”.
“From these documents we will learn that ‘necessary interrogations’ are a standard means for the GSS, which are set in internal orders, which specify who is authorized to allow a ‘necessary interrogation’ and what means the interrogator should use with regards to the mechanism for causing pain, the maximum time the means may be used and how many times the ‘special means’ may be used during one interrogation.”
In conclusion, the attorneys requested the confidential material which served as grounds for extending the prohibition preventing Ben Uliel from meeting with an attorney during the entire time he was interrogated. “In the appeal the appellant will claim, through his attorneys, that the ‘necessary interrogation’ claimed in the previous court by the prosecution, was a deception, because it is self-evident that the interrogation was meant to extract from the appellant a confession to the Duma charges, and that there was no goal of thwarting [a crime] that could have justified ex post factum brutal means of interrogation, because senior members of the GSS rushed to the Attorney General in order to explain to him in detail the need for implementing a ‘necessary interrogation’ in order to extract from the appellant a confession in the Duma case.”
Ben Uliel’s attorneys also wrote that the urgency in meeting the Attorney General stemmed from the fact that the time allotted for interrogation under extreme duress (torture) was running out, and preventing Ben Uliel from meeting with an attorney was designed to convince him to continue giving false confessions, despite his frequent requests to meet with his attorney.
“Therefore we request to receive in the framework of the investigative material, all of the confidential material submitted to the court in the framework of the request to extend the ban on meeting with an attorney, from 16.12.2016 to 20.12.2016 and after that in the request to extend the ban until the end of the maximum time set by law.”
Later in the request the conduct of the police during the investigation – the attempts to whitewash the torture and the prolonged time that Ben Uliel was prevented from meeting with an attorney – was described in detail.
“We are convinced that the confidential material submitted to the court in order to extend the ban on meeting with an attorney, will strengthen the claim that these extensions were requested in order to prevent the appellant from hearing from his attorney legal counsel contrary to the ‘legal counsel’ which the appellant was force-fed by his interrogators from the GSS and from the police.
“The case file clearly indicates that there was no investigative need to extend twice the ban on meeting an attorney, and it was possible for the interrogations to be conducted after the ban had expired, because the one and only purpose for the additional extension of the ban was in order to prevent the appellant from hearing from his attorney that it would be best for him to maintain his right to remain silent, and not to reenact [the arson incident in Kfar Duma] after the ‘necessary interrogation’, because not only were the interrogations not meant to help him, as the interrogators said, but rather to bury him deep underground.”
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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