Thursday, March 29, 2018, 19:02 The father of a detainee who underwent torture as a
minor during GSS interrogations turned to the Prime Minister in a request to allow his son, in light of his serious condition, to celebrate the Passover Seder at home. “Our request has a measure of accepting both responsibility for backing the interrogation of our son under torture, and also for his conviction before the trial began.”
On Thursday, March 29, the father of A., who is suspected of involvement with the July 31, 2015 Kfar Duma arson incident, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requesting that in light of his son’s serious condition resulting from the torture he underwent, the Prison Service allow him to celebrate the Passover Seder at home with his family.
“The Passover holiday is known as the Holiday of Freedom of the Jewish People who came out of slavery into freedom. However no less than that it is also the Holiday of Freedom of each and every individual Jew. Since our son was detained in the Kfar Duma case, when he was 17 years old, approximately two and a half years have passed during which he has been imprisoned in a heavily guarded wing, under the most severe detention conditions in the State of Israel, almost completely isolated, without any opportunity to pray with a minyan, not even on Shabbat or on holidays. As the third Seder Night since he was detained approaches, we turn to you in a request to allow him to celebrate with us the upcoming Seder Night,” wrote the father.
The father mentioned that the request is supported by an expert opinion of the Probation Service: “Our request is supported by the unequivocal recommendation by the Prison Service to release our son to house arrest, but no less than that by the circumstances for which he has sat so long in remand, and the court has not yet reached a verdict in… the trial within a trial [process to determine whether or not a suspect’s confession is admissible in court] which had been postponed for approximately three months!
Additionally, the father raised the issue of the torture which his son underwent: “We would like to remind you that all of the charges against our son are based solely on confessions obtained from him after undergoing horrific torture in the GSS dungeons for 21 days, and the use of problematic juridical procedures, which do not have a precedent in the history of the State of Israel, particularly in consideration of the fact that this was the interrogation of a minor who does not have a criminal past. After all that, the court did not see fit to charge our son with the murder of [three members of] the Dawabsheh family (!), but rather with lesser charges.
“Imagine a situation in which a minor must cope with serious emotional injury resulting from the torture he underwent, and in addition to that he must sit in remand for an extremely prolonged period of time, waiting for a trial on serious charges for a crime which he did not commit! Is there torture worse than that?”
The father mentioned the repeated extensions of the prolonged remand: “It is true that everything is ‘legal’ and that the extension of the remand for the 14th time was authorized by the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented step. However we believe that precisely you, who has recently personally experienced how the legal authorities can act tendentiously and “set someone up”, can identify with us and at least cast doubt on the credibility of the charges which have yet to be verified by the court, two and a half years after he was sent to prison!”
In his conclusion, the father called on the Prime Minister to take responsibility for his part in the matter, due to his support of the torture: “Our request has a measure of accepting both responsibility for backing the interrogation of our son under torture, and also for his conviction before the trial began, as you expressed yourself in your speech in the UN (9/2016): ‘Take the recent case of Ahmed Dawabsheh… I ordered that every effort be made in order to penalize his assailants to the full extent of the law, and today those same Jewish citizens of Israel charged with assaulting the Dawabsheh family are in prison and awaiting their trial.’ Accordingly, for all the above-mentioned reasons, we turn to you in a request to order the Prison Service to release our son to his home for the Seder Night, or at least to allow him to take part in the communal Passover Seder in the Religious Wing of the prison.”
Currently the minor in the case is awaiting the verdict in the trial within a trial, the first part of the trial in which the admissibility of the confessions obtained from him while under torture when he was a minor is judged. Immediately prior to the deliberation the attorneys representing the defendants made a statement to the media.
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.”
Attorney Adi Keidar, who is also representing the minor, added that, “I hope that the court, for the first time, will accept our claims and reveal to the entire public the dramatic events which occurred during the interrogations: Violations of human rights, extreme violations of human rights, and we want to unequivocally clarify, despite the fact that this is a trial within a trial, that the defendant is not connected in any way to the Kfar Duma incident. We still do not know what happened in Kfar Duma. He [the minor] is not connected to the incident and the fictitious connection which was somehow made and written in the indictment, stems from the desire of the GSS to try to excuse the severe measures and the torture which they used on him. Otherwise there is no explanation for it [the fictitious connection].”