MK Azoulai (Shas): Prime Minister should look into GSS abuse of detainees

Sunday, June 29, 2014, 16:31 Following reports by Honenu on the abuse by GSS interrogators of detainees suspected of involvement with “Price Tag” incidents Member of Knesset David Azoulai (Shas) asked the Prime Minister to look into the matter. “This torture is reminiscent of dark regimes and certainly [does not befit] the State of Israel, the State of the Jews.”
MK Azoulai made the request after he received a letter from Honenu attorney Adi Kedar detailing descriptions by detainees of what they endured in GSS interrogation centers, especially the severe abuse of an 18 year-old Yad Binyamin resident who was released without an indictment filed against him.
“The letter speaks for itself and opens a window to the goings-on in the interrogation rooms of the GSS,”wrote MK Azoulai in his petition to the Prime Minister.
“According to what is described in the letter the detainee endured torture reminiscent of dark regimes in countries overseas, which certainly [does not befit] the State of Israel, the State of the Jews. I will not go into the methods of interrogation, but rather the human rights which were fundamentally violated. Also in a conversation with Kedar I heard that an indictment was not filed against the detainee and therefore apparently the remand was an error.”
“As [Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs which is] in charge of the GSS I would like to know how the matter was treated and what will be done to ensure that the situation is not repeated,” demanded MK Azoulai and added that, “In accordance with your response I will examine the possibility of holding a deliberation on the subject in the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset.”
21 hours of interrogation a day, including on Shabbat
In the letter which Honenu attorney Kedar sent to the investigatory authorities at the time, he described the abuse of numerous detainees during interrogation by the GSS and especially the abuse of Y., an 18 year-old youth from Yad Binyamin.
Kedar described the 21 hour a day interrogations, including on Shabbat, to which the youth was subjected. The interrogations began at 6:00 A.M. and ended at 3:00 A.M. the following day.
Additionally during the interrogations the detainee was shackled to a small plastic chair as his interrogators applied severe psychological pressure on him, including incessant shouting from close range by several interrogators simultaneously. He was also shoved and humiliated in other ways. During one of the interrogations he was choked by an interrogator after he dozed off. During another he fainted after an interrogator screamed in his ear after he dozed off due to the severe physical conditions in which he was being held. A medic was rushed in to treat him.
The GSS detainees were held in harsh conditions in cells with neither a bed nor a toilet. “The cell is meant for terrorists and the fact the the severity of the suspicions supposedly justifies putting them in a cell such as this is shocking,” wrote Kedar.
Kedar continued and reasoned that the humiliating methods and manipulations used on the detainees, “apparently express the distress of [the interrogators of the Jewish Department of the GSS] and their superiors following their repeated failures over the past decade,” added Kedar. “The pressure placed on the interrogators is what brings them to this unacceptable and shocking conduct. This case is another low point of the conduct of the Jewish Department of the GSS, which is an unjustified financial burden and a waste of public resources and funds.”

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