Protest for Ben Uliel: “Torture Leads To Lies!”

Monday, March 7, 2022, 12:13 On Sunday, March 6, over 600 demonstrators protested opposite the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem, demanding the release of Amiram Ben Uliel, who was convicted in the Kfar Duma case.

During the protest, rabbis, members of Knesset, and other public figures spoke about the injustices that have been done to Ben Uliel and about the demand for justice in his case. Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Orian Ben Uliel, Amiram’s wife, MK Itamar Ben Gvir, MK Yitzhak Pindrus, former MK Moshe Feiglin, media strategist Roni Rimon, Professor Talia Einhorn, and Yossi Degan, the head of the Shomron Regional Council, were among the speakers.

Orian Ben Uliel related how the family’s life has been disrupted: “I know that my husband didn’t do it. I clearly remember that night, and over the years I’ve seen that more and more people know the story and understand that Amiram is innocent, and that an injustice has been done to him. An entire public stands behind me shouting the truth, and I call on you, the [Supreme Court] Justices, to do justice for Amiram. I know that you have also been exposed to the truth. Take courage and bring the truth to light.

“For six and a half years already, Amiram has been held under inhumane conditions, the most severe conditions in Israel. In contrast, terrorists who killed entire families have better conditions. They have cell phones, they are allowed activities together, they are allowed free movement in their [prison] wing, they hold celebrations. This is while Amiram, who should not be in prison at all, has been in complete isolation for six years already, without phone privileges, all visits are held behind a glass partition, and treatment by the GSS is humiliating. The time has come for my daughter to have her father at home,” concluded Orian Ben Uliel.

MK Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, the chairman of Otzma Yehudit, who was Ben Uliel’s attorney while he was tortured during GSS interrogations, spoke at the protest: “We all demand that at the Supreme Court hearing, at the court which prides itself on upholding citizens’ rights, the same court that said more than once that one does not fight terrorists with all available means, justice will be done. We expect the State that gives security prisoners phones, lamb meat, access to TV channels, and female prison guards [reference to a recent scandal], to do justice for Amiram. We demand that Amiram return home. We will not give up and we will not stop demanding and raising the cry.”

MK Yitzhak Pindrus, chairman of the Yahadut HaTorah party, censured the law enforcement systems: “We are here at ‘Hypocrisy Square’. They [the Supreme Court] talk about citizens’ rights, and they lie, because they are referring to the rights of terrorists and haters of Israel.”

Former MK Moshe Feiglin said, “Amiram was buried alive because someone here backed [the decision]. An entire public gave backing to his torture. ‘We should believe Ben Gvir?’ they asked. But what happened? The one who was trusted and supported then [Bennett], is giving away the entire State of Israel today. … There is a terrible and horrific moral blemish on the Israeli society that gave support and believed Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett [who, at the time, publicly stated that the defendants in the Kfar Duma case were not being tortured].

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the Chief Rabbi of the Shomron, asked the protesters to join forces for Amiram: “A true friend of ours is in distress. Amiram Ben Uliel was sentenced to three life sentences through no fault of his own. It is clear to me that he had no part in the murder he is claimed to have committed. He did not commit this atrocious deed. … He and his family are in distress and all of Am Yisrael is in distress. We all must help.” (See here for a previous statement of support, with Rabbi Dov Lior.)

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, spoke at the protest: “One must be virtuous when one comes to judge. And unfortunately too many doubts have arisen about their virtuousness concerning Amiram and how they interrogated him. In no court would this be accepted. Obtaining a confession from someone by means of torture is simply not something that would be done. For the sake of all of us, the judicial system needs to stop this corruption. … We must rise and raise the cry of justice for Amiram Ben Uliel.”

Talia Einhorn, Professor Emeritus of Law, explained the many problems with the verdict that was handed down to Ben Uliel by the Lod District Court: “The conclusions of the court do not give rest. The basic rule in Jewish law is that ‘ein adam mesim atzmo rasha,’ one does not self-incriminate. And certainly it is illogical to accept a confession from someone who was held under conditions of severe torture. There is no chance of a ‘ticking time bomb’ here. Amiram was arrested four months after the horrific incidents in Duma, and he was tortured five months after that. Thus there was no justification for the supposed need of the security system to torture Amiram in order to extract a confession from him.

“The only details of ‘concealed information’ that Amiram pointed out could have been given to him by his interrogators. And again, it is illogical for someone to be convicted only on the basis of statements that he made – the confession and the reenactment – and there is not even a scrap of forensic evidence corroborating the confession. This conviction should not be accepted. This is not the way to investigate. This is not the way to convict. This is not the way to adjudicate a fair trial.”

Media strategist Roni Rimon came out against torture: “Torture is not a method [of interrogation]. Have the police lost their senses? We know that torture is immoral and also does not lead to the truth. There needs to be a new law stating that the testimony of whoever undergoes torture is immediately invalidated and they are released, if there is no other proof.”

Yossi Degan, the head of the Shomron Regional Council, stated, “A situation in which youths are interrogated under torture, confessions are extracted from them and nobody knows whether or not they are true and whether or not what they said happened, happened, is illogical. A confession extracted under torture should be invalidated.”

Rabbi Gadi Ansbacher, the father of Ori Ansbacher, who was brutally raped and murdered in a terror attack, called for the release of Amiram: “For a father to be taken away from his daughter, it needs to be clear beyond a doubt that he did something to deserve such a penalty. When there is no certainty, nobody should be taken and treated so terribly.”

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