The High Court of Justice on Wednesday acceded to the state’s request for an additional six months to report back on investigating a Palestinian criminal’s claim of being tortured by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency.) The allegations are that the Shin Bet used a wide array of physical and psychological torture in interrogating the criminal, a practice the court previously prohibited. His name has been kept classified.
Under a well-known 1999 ruling, the court has essentially permitted “moderate physical pressure” in interrogating security suspects in “ticking bomb” scenarios, but the court has set numerous limits on those pressure levels even in such a scenario.
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel filed the petition on behalf of the Palestinian in March 2013 after having tried to get the state to address the issue as early as November 20, 2011.
The NGO does not deny that the petitioner committed serious crimes, but says his complaints still must be criminally investigated under law.
The state argued that a new investigative department overseeing the Shin Bet only started functioning in recent months, that it has been efficient in addressing a severe backlog of cases and that it should be given at least until the end of 2014 to decide whether to open a full criminal investigation into the allegations.
The High Court appeared to ignore most of the NGO’s substantive arguments, deciding to accept the state’s position that the new department should be given more time.
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