Battle over testimony of Shin Bet interrogation of alleged Jewish terrorist

Both have claimed the confessions they gave relating to the attack were extracted by the Shin Bet by duress under painful enhanced interrogation.

December 10, 2018 22:50
2 minute read.
actors demonstrate the Israeli Shin Bet torture method known as "Banana b'kiseh"

actors demonstrate the Israeli Shin Bet torture method known as "Banana b'kiseh". (photo credit: DAVID SILVERMAN / REUTERS)


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Supporters of the Duma defendants and the state prosecution battled on Sunday over framing the testimony of a senior Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) official in the trial of alleged Jewish terrorist Amiram Ben Uliel.

The defendant is charged with killing three members of the Dawabshe family by burning them in their house in July 2015. A minor, whose name is under gag order, has been on trial as a co-conspirator.

Both have claimed the confessions they gave relating to the attack were extracted by the Shin Bet by duress under painful enhanced interrogation.

Earlier Sunday, the right-wing legal defense organization Honenu released previously undisclosed portions of statements made by the defendants to their Shin Bet interrogators, as well as statements from the interrogators relating to the use of enhanced interrogation.

It was unclear if the quotations violated the gag order relating to the enhanced interrogation issue. Generally speaking, the Shin Bet team’s head interrogator, “Miguel” (a fictitious name,) indicated that some of the methods could be very painful.

He said he knew this from having tried some of the methods on himself during training.

Honenu used the graphic descriptions of the harsh methods to portray the defendants as having confessed to charges against them relating to the Duma murders only due to being under extreme duress.

On the flip side, The Jerusalem Post has learned that since the Lod District Court trying the case has already reviewed the full unredacted transcripts of the enhanced interrogation, that the prosecution would view the disclosures as nothing new.

Rather, the prosecution would say the court has already tossed out portions of those confessions the credibility of which it doubted. Similarly, the prosecution would say that where the court ruled a confession is valid, that ruling is final.

With Honenu attacking the prosecution for bringing Miguel to testify on Sunday, the Post has learned that the purpose of his testifying related to the new stage of the trial.

Until recently, the primary trial for murder was delayed by a mini-trial about whether the confessions were admissible – or whether the court could even consider them in making its broad decision about innocence versus guilt.

With the mini-trial concluded, some witnesses must testify again about broader evidentiary issues.

Miguel was called to testify to describe to the court what the defendants confessed to and to explain why their confessions should be believed and lead to a conviction (as opposed to earlier when the legal issue was merely whether they could be considered at all as evidence.)

For example, certain details of the indictment could be said to show that the defendants must have been at the scene of the crime as they could not have guessed the details without having been there.

The trial continues on Wednesday with testimony from police involved in the defendants’ interrogation.

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