Man suspected of murdering a Palestinian accuses Shin Bet of torture

Palestinian Ali Hassan Harav was killed last week during a fight near Ariel with a group of 14-year-old Jews and grown-ups accompanying them.

IDF SOLDIERS stand guard next to a poster which reads in Hebrew, ‘A Jew doesn’t torture a Jew. Enough with the inquisition,’ at the entrance to Ariel (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF SOLDIERS stand guard next to a poster which reads in Hebrew, ‘A Jew doesn’t torture a Jew. Enough with the inquisition,’ at the entrance to Ariel
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A 40-year-old Jewish resident of Samaria who is suspected of murdering a Palestinian was finally able to meet with his lawyer on Monday afternoon, following five days of interrogation by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) that include claims of torture.

Right-wing NGO Honenu said that the man encountered some kind of heart problem, and was left to urinate on himself during the interrogation.

The Shin Bet said that the file was a murder case under gag order, which prevented it from providing evidence against the suspect, but it did deny the torture allegations categorically.

Yamina MK Idit Silman held a hearing on Tuesday over the suspect’s treatment, but the Supreme Court extended until Monday a district court order last week allowing the Shin Bet to question the suspect without a lawyer present. Thus when the agency said it had legal backing for its interrogation, this included not only the state prosecution but also multiple levels of the courts.

At the same time, Honenu emphasized that the Supreme Court denied the Shin Bet’s request to prevent the suspect from meeting with a lawyer even beyond Monday.

Man in handcuffs - illustrative (credit: INGIMAGE)Man in handcuffs - illustrative (credit: INGIMAGE)

The suspect’s lawyer, Adi Keidar, was expected to give further updates after he met with him.

Sources said that it was problematic that Honenu was allegedly violating the gag order on the case with a misleading narrative.

The murder

Palestinian Ali Hassan Harav was killed last Tuesday during an altercation near Ariel between a group of 14-year-old Jews and grown-ups accompanying them, including the arrested man, and a group of Palestinians. The other Jews involved have filed a police complaint against the Palestinians for allegedly attacking them, implying anything that happened to Harav might have been in self-defense.

However, one of the minors who filed the complaint was arrested under suspicion of criminal actions as part of the incident. This prompted additional protest from Honenu, as the minor was likely only arrested after he presented himself to file a complaint.

Furthermore, a Jewish female grown-up who was arrested on Sunday may have had information about the incident, though she was already released on Monday.

Three Palestinians connected with Harav have also been arrested and released, after providing testimony about the incident.

Since Amiram Ben Uliel was arrested and convicted for the arson terror murder of the Palestinian Dawabshe family of Duma in 2015, relations between the Shin Bet and right-wing West Bank activists have seriously deteriorated. The Lod District Court found that the agency used “special interrogation methods” against Ben Uliel, and disqualified some of the evidence against him because of those methods, even as it ultimately convicted him.

Virtually every arrest of a Jewish activist leads to claims of abuse of power, if not torture, while a mix of current and former agency officials have strongly implied that they still go far easier on Jewish criminal activity in the West Bank than on Palestinian activity.

The Shin Bet often feels unsupported by the political class in cracking down on Jewish violence against Palestinians.