|Ben Zygier 370.(Photo by: Screen shot ABC News)|
State weighs publicizing Prisoner X cause of death
By BEN HARTMAN
Justice Ministry is considering the publication of the forensic report examining the death of Ben Zygier.
The Justice Ministry is considering the publication of the report examining the
death of Ben Zygier, which ruled that the so-called Prisoner X committed suicide
in his cell at Ayalon Prison in December 2010.
An investigation carried
out by Judge Daphna Blatman Kedrai, president of the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s
Court, concluded a month and a half ago that Zygier, 34, died of asphyxiation by
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A spokesman for the Justice Ministry said on Saturday that the
ministry was checking ways in which to make the findings of the report public,
possibly as soon as this week.
The life-and-death saga of Zygier,
identified in foreign reports as a one-time Mossad employee who was jailed in
early 2010 for unspecified crimes associated with his service in the agency,
continues to grip the Israeli media.
Speaking on Channel 2’s Meet the
Press on Saturday night, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon hinted that
Zygier, a dual Australian- Israeli national, was jailed for offenses that
threatened the security of the State of Israel.
“We are a special country
in terms of our security situation, and because of security needs and sometimes
even to save lives we must take extreme measures,” Ya’alon said. “We should
assume that if he got to this point, there was information that necessitated
He defended the government’s actions, saying that “we are not a dark
dictatorship like Stalin’s Soviet Union or Argentina,” and that “the people in
Israel who needed to know about this knew.
“If we want in an extreme case
to put someone in prison under a fake name, it’s done with the supervision of
the judiciary, with the family and the executive branch knowing,” Ya’alon
He also said that every suicide in Israel is investigated,
On Friday, Reuters published the results of a
forensic report it commissioned that concluded that Zygier and a suspect in the
assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al- Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010
were not the same man.
The report followed an article in the Kuwaiti
newspaper Al-Jarida on Thursday that quoted anonymous Western sources who said
Zygier was part of the team that killed Mahbouh and that he later gave Dubai
information on the identities of the operatives who took part in the
The Reuters examination narrowed the passport photos that the Dubai
police released of suspects in Mahbouh’s killing down to one forged picture from
an Australian passport with the name Joshua Daniel Bruce that it determined was
the picture most likely to be Zygier in disguise. The examination determined
that the man was not Zygier.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report