Shin Bet denies claims it tortured Pearlman

Far-right murder suspect tells lawyer that agents tried to force confession.

haim pearlman 2 311 (photo credit: screen shot)
haim pearlman 2 311
(photo credit: screen shot)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) dismissed claims over the weekend that its agents had “tortured” far-right activist Haim Pearlman, suspected of murdering four Palestinians and attempting to murder seven more. The Shin Bet said the allegations were part of a smear-campaign being waged by the suspects and their supporters against the organization.
Haim Pearlman was arrested earlier in July for the murder of four Arab residents of east Jerusalem, who were stabbed to death between 1998 to 2004.
David Sitbon, an acquaintance, was also arrested last week on suspicion of stealing a weapon from an IDF base and passing it on to Pearlman.
On Friday, attorney Sharon Nahari, who represents Pearlman, emerged from his first meeting with the suspect at a Shin Bet facility. The meeting was made possible by a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday which permitted Pearlman, along with Sitbon, to meet with their lawyers.
“Haim told him about the difficult torture he is undergoing, both physically and psychologically,” read a statement by Honenu, a group that provides legal assistance to Israeli Jews suspected of involvement in violent attacks against Arabs.
“Pearlman said he was cuffed to a chair for 18 hours every day. Shin Bet interrogators shouted into one ear for hours on end that he is a murderer, and into into his other ear they shouted that he should confess,” Nahari said.
Honenu added that Pearlman claimed he had been beaten repeatedly by “three thugs.”
“Of course, they beat him without leaving scars, so that the judges don’t notice,” Honenu said.
Pearlman was told by his interrogators that his wife “no longer wants to be him,” and made derogatory references to his wife, his attorney said.
Pearlman, who denied any wrongdoing in a Channel 2 interview broadcast shortly before his arrest, has maintained his right to silence since being taken into custody.
On Friday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court released Yossi Sitbon, brother of the second suspect. The former had been arrested Tuesday for attempting to block a road in order to prevent the vehicle carrying his brother and Pearlman to court. Yossi Sitbon was placed under a 30-day restraining order aimed at preventing him from carrying out similar actions.