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In the Name of God بسم الله

`Tourture in Israel has again become routine'

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`Tourture in Israel has again become routine'

By Moshe Reinfeld

A report released yesterday by the Public Committee

Against Torture claims that the use of torture in

the interrogation of Palestinian suspects has

increased significantly over the past two years.

Hundreds of Palestinians were

subject to Shin Bet security

service interrogations defined

as torture, inhumane or

humiliating during each of the

first six months of the year,

compared to dozens in September

2001, the human rights group


The abuse of Palestinian

suspects has worsened and can justifiably be

termed torture under criteria established by

international law, according to the report.

Moreover, such use of torture in interrogation

violates a ruling reached by Israel's High

Court in 1999.

"Torture in Israel has once again become

routine," the report's writers conclude. They

charge that Israeli authorities such as the

High Court and attorney general, which are

supposed to monitor the Shin Bet and guarantee

that its interrogation procedures conform with

the law, have failed to discharge such

responsibility. Rather than supervising the

Shin Bet, these authorities have simply rubber

stamped the security service's decisions.

In past months, the High Court rejected all 124

petitions submitted by the committee demanding

that Palestinian suspects be allowed to confer

with their attorneys, the report notes.

Also, the report's writers claim, the State

Prosecutor's Office entrusts a Shin Bet

official to review complaints lodged by

Palestinian detainees; therefore, it is no

surprise that no Shin Bet interrogator has been

found guilty of torturing a suspect "without


The rights group accuses the Shin Bet of using a

variety of violent interrogation methods,

including hitting, slapping and kicking

suspects; stepping on handcuffs; forcing the

suspect to bend in a painful position; and

shaking suspects.

Other illegal measures taken against suspects

include sleep deprivation, threats and

humiliation, exposure to extreme cold or heat

and isolation in inhumane confinement.

Of the 48 detainees who gave statements to the

committee's lawyers during the first four

months of the year, 58% claimed they had been

victimized by direct violence; 52% complained

of sleep deprivation; and 90% said their hands

had been tied behind their backs for prolonged


The report denounces what it regards as a moral

decline in Israel and consistent violation of

democratic norms, calling on the government to

comply fully with international laws

prohibiting torture and inhumane treatment of


A spokesman for Israel's courts last night

rejected the report's findings. After a

petition demanding the right to confer with

counsel is filed, High Court judges require

Shin Bet officials to furnish detailed reasons

justifying their decision to deny a suspect's

request to confer with an attorney, the

spokesman said, adding that the prevention of a

right to counsel does not mean that

interrogators use torture.

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