Mustafa Dirani in prison.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Pool/Yoav Lemmer)
Doron Zahavi is “Captain George,” the pseudonym for referring to a former IDF investigator whose alleged actions in interrogating Lebanese terrorist Mustafa Dirani led to a pending NIS 6 million lawsuit against the Defense Ministry for rape and other allegations.
The gag order on Zahavi’s name, which had been in place for years, was lifted by the Tel Aviv District Court late Monday night, upon his own request.
Zahavi was an investigator in the IDF’s special 504 intelligence unit and, according to media reports, currently serves as a police officer in Jerusalem with special responsibility as a liaison with Arab residents of east Jerusalem.
The state did not oppose removing the gag order on his name, although it successfully argued to the court that aspects of Zahavi’s work in the IDF would remain under gag order.
Dirani’s lawsuit, filed in 2000, is currently waiting for a broader panel of the Supreme Court to make a final ruling on whether it can go forward despite Anglo-American legal precedents which prohibit enemies of a state residing in hostile countries from suing the state.
In 2011, a smaller panel of the Supreme Court already gave Dirani a green-light for his case affirming a Tel Aviv District Court decision from 2005.
Dirani is a former leader of Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist group Amal, whose forces captured IAF navigator Lt.- Col. Ron Arad in October 1986 during a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon in Lebanon. In 1994, Israeli special forces captured Dirani in Lebanon, believing he had personal knowledge of Arad’s whereabouts.
Dirani was released in 2004 as part of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, despite a High Court petition by Arad’s family to try to prevent his release. In return, Hezbollah returned the bodies of three IDF soldiers killed by Hezbollah in October 2000, together with kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum.
Besides Dirani’s case against the state, Zahavi is also suing the state for NIS 5.5 million, claiming that he has suffered damages as a result of Dirani’s rape allegations and the state “throwing him to the dogs” (including firing him from the IDF), a mantra repeated by his lawyer, when really a different IDF investigator was involved in the worst allegations and anything Zahavi did was based on orders.
He has also claimed that the state is withholding a tape which proves his innocence and potentially the guilt of one of his commanders who is seen interrogating a naked Dirani.
Dirani’s case was dismissed by the Tel Aviv District Court on April 14, 2013, but his appeal is still pending.