Developments in Kfar Duma trial

Monday, April 16, 2018, 20:31 On Monday, April 16, the families of the defendants in the Kfar Duma case revealed that during the closing statements stage of the first segment of the trial, which took place on March 15, the Central District Attorney’s office announced in an unprecedented step that they would withdraw from use several of the defendants’ confessions. The confessions were given during interrogations in which “special means”, a euphemism referring to torture, were used on the defendants.
A source in the legal system who became aware of the fact that the Attorney General’s office admitted that the confessions given by the defendants under interrogation were not admissible in court and was concerned that the court would reject them, explained that “The meaning of the announcement by the Central District Attorney’s office to the court, is the understanding that in light of the circumstances under which the confessions were given by the defendants, it is impossible to render them judicially valid. This is an upheaval. The Attorney General’s office is essentially standing opposite the court and admitting that in this case interrogations were conducted that brought the defendants to make statements and confessions that were not out of free will, as is mandatory by law.”
Prior to the deliberation, the fact that the State of Israel submitted a request to the court asking that the torture be recognized as legal was revealed. The defendants’ families stated that the request mentioned that the torture was forbidden and illegal according to the Suspects Interrogation Law. However despite that, the State requested that the court rule that in the Kfar Duma case, “The means were not illegal and the means were not applied ‘not according to the law’, and it will be ruled that the torture was carried out according to the law, and that is in light of the unusual case.”
The families stated that, “In order to show that the torture was not so terrible, the Attorney General’s office dares to write to the court that during the torture [the interrogators] carefully followed the law and exercised judgment. What is the most outrageous is that they write that it was all done while ‘maintaining as much as possible the dignity of the defendants’. They tortured them while maintaining their dignity. That is what is written in a document from the State of Israel in 2018. This is incredible.”
The families also raised the issue of the severe remand conditions under which the defendants are being held: “They are in isolation, without phones, and are deprived of many rights which are granted to prisoners in general,” they say.
At the deliberation the judges heard the closing statements of the first stage of the trial. These verbal statements have been added to the many hundreds of pages of written statements by the defense and the prosecution. At the completion of the proceeding the panel of judges will rule whether or not the confessions of the defendants in the Kfar Duma trial are admissible in court.
Prior to the deliberation, at the entrance to the court, Attorney Tzion Amir, who is representing the minor in the case, stated that, “We have reached the closing statements stage. I hope very much that one day the matters which arose during the trial within a trial, the facts and the details [which arose] during the testimonies and the interrogations of everyone, especially the GSS agents, will be revealed. The public should be very deeply shocked by how the interrogation of a minor who was not charged with murder, but rather with a charge connected to the murder, was conducted, and also by the manner in which the interrogation was conducted, completely by torture, violent means in various forms and by various methods. This matter shakes one to the core. It is impossible to come to terms with an interrogation conducted in this matter in a democratic society. I hope very much that in the end the court will state its piece concerning these fundamental issues.”

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