Amiram Ben-Oliel, charged with racially-motivated murder for the arson attack on the Dawabsha family home in Duma.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The questioning of the main suspect in a deadly firebombing of a Palestinian family’s home in the West Bank was carried out legally and was well supervised, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
“This is a case that is being handled by the Central District behind closed doors, and therefore, in keeping with the limitations of the law, we cannot relate to the individual claims in here or verify them. With that, it can be noted that the investigation of the person in question was done in keeping with legal requirements and with the cooperation of all the relevant bodies,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
The statement followed reports in Israeli media that quoted Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, of Jerusalem as saying he confessed after he was tortured during questioning.
Ben-Uliel was charged in January with three counts of murder.
Three members of the Dawabshe family – an 18-month-old boy and his parents – were killed in the firebombing.
Ben-Uliel said in a recording broadcasted by Channel 2 on Sunday night that the torture included being beaten, handcuffed and made to sit in uncomfortable positions, as well as being forced to listen to women sing, which is against his religious convictions.
In addition to hearing women singing on the radio, a female interrogator also sang to him and touched him, which is also against his religious convictions, Ben-Uliel said in the recording.
Ben-Uliel said that when the torture got to be too much, he resolved to confess so it would stop.
“‘I’ll make something up for them so they’ll release me,’ and I said to them, ‘I’ll talk, I’ll talk,’” he said in the recording. Ben-Uliel said he used details he gleaned from his interrogators.
“I started making stuff up. A whole story, how I went and prepared and planned,” he said in the recording. “I told them I planned it with [name deleted], and I met with him, we carried out reconnaissance and all sorts of things.”
Channel 2 did not say when the recording was made or how the station came into possession of it.
The Shin Bet responded to Channel 2 with a statement, saying, “The interrogation of the individual in question was carried out according to the stipulations of the law, and under the supervision and constant oversight of all relevant authorities.”
An individual involved in the interrogation of Ben-Uliel told Channel 2 that the suspect gave information to his interrogators that only someone involved in the crime would have known.
According to the indictment, Ben-Uliel admitted to planning and carrying out the Duma attack. He said it was in retaliation for the June murder of Malachi Rosenfeld, 25, in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian attackers in the West Bank on a road near Duma.
At the time of Ben-Uliel’s indictment, authorities said that Ben- Uliel returned with police to the scene of the Duma attack and walked them through its events, in which he allegedly spray-painted graffiti, including “Vengeance” and “Long live the Messiah,” on the house before throwing firebombs through its window.
Along with the three deaths, five-year-old Ahmed Dawabshe remains hospitalized and faces a difficult rehabilitation.
A minor was charged as an accomplice in the firebombing.
Ben-Uliel, the father of one, reportedly was detained by the Shin Bet on December 1. His father, Reuven, is the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Karmei Tzur, where he grew up.