A-G: Alleged favors for inmates reason for Gavizon reversal

Attorney-general, Public Security Ministry and Turkel Commission check allegations; Weinstein: "significant questions remained."

March 29, 2011 03:24
2 minute read.
Illustrative photo

Prison jail generic. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A day after the Public Security Ministry announced a lastminute cancellation of Lt.- Cmdr. Eli Gavizon’s appointment to head the Prisons Service, authorities explained the reason for the move.

Media reports on Sunday speculated that Gavizon’s appointment was being nixed due to anonymous letters sent to the Public Security Ministry alleging improper intimate relations with women who were subordinate to him.

However, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, who examined the issue, announced on Monday that he had found no evidence to substantiate the charge.

Still, Weinstein added, “significant questions remained” over allegations that “criminal elements” had asked Gavizon’s relatives and associates to turn to him with requests to improve the conditions of prisoners behind bars. Gavizon was unable to provide coherent replies to the suspicions, Weinstein said.

During a subsequent check of the allegations – carried out jointly by the attorney-general, the Public Security Ministry and the Turkel Commission, which is tasked with scrutinizing senior public appointments – Gavizon at first denied receiving requests from relatives and associates that pertained to prisoners’ conditions, and denied handling such requests.

“Despite that, during questioning...Gavizon said that he did handle such requests... but claimed he had done so in line with Prisons Service regulations.

He also could not recall any specific cases,” Weinstein said.

A subsequent letter from Gavizon’s attorney, sent last week to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, sought to argue that the requests had been handled in accordance with regulations.

“The varying explanations to simple questions – did you receive requests regarding terms of custody from relatives or associates, and did you take action based on these requests – point to an apparent factual contradiction by the candidate for this question,” Weinstein concluded.

Gavizon’s candidacy was further weakened when he failed a lie-detector test on two questions: Had he dealt with prisoners in contradiction to regulations, and had he received benefits in exchange for changing prisoners’ conditions? On Monday, Gavizon vowed to appeal the cancellation to the High Court. “There is an attempt to create a very dangerous precedent, in which decisions are made to cancel public appointments based on anonymous tips,” Gavizon’s lawyer, Boaz Ben-Tzur told Army Radio.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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