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Court authorizes GSS interrogation on Shabbat

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi; Photo credit: Honenu
Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi; Photo credit: Honenu

Friday, January 10, 2020, 13:17 At a deliberation which was held on Friday, January 10, at the Central District Court in Lod, in the case of the recent GSS detainees, among other issues the question of whether or not a detainee would be interrogated on Shabbat was judged. The police representative stated that the GSS intended to interrogate the detainee on Shabbat. Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi responded with a request from the court: “I ask the court to order the General Security Service to not interrogate the detainee on Shabbat. The GSS wants to interrogate him on Shabbat only in order apply leverage and break the will of the detainee so that he will cooperate with them.” District Court Judge Michael Tamir rejected the request and ruled that the GSS is authorized to interrogate the detainee on Shabbat, noting that the police representative assured the court that the detainee would not be shown films or subjected to similar sabbath violations during interrogation. Judge Tamir ruled that “… the court will not hand down a decision which removes from the investigating unit the discretion to interrogate or not interrogate during Shabbat.” Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi criticized the decision: “It is saddening to discover that the General Security Service is using my client’s faith as a means to pressure him. The court’s decision which authorizes the conduct of the General Security Service and allows its interrogators to interrogate my client on Shabbat, without any need, is outrageous.” Today (Friday) the last detainee who had been prohibited to meet with an attorney, met with an attorney for the first time. The detainee said that his rights had been severely violated and that the GSS interrogators had applied physical and verbal brutality on him. Currently all of the detainees are meeting with attorneys, a deliberation in the minor’s case is expected to be held on Sunday, and deliberations for the adults are expected to be held on Monday. Yesterday the court allowed the publication of the decision by the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court which ruled that the rights of the detainees had been violated and that they are undergoing harsh interrogations which include, among other abuses, sleep deprivation. Friday, January 10, 2020, 14:13 In response to the publication of the intent of the GSS to interrogate the detainees on Shabbat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu issued a statement critical of the severity with which the GSS is handling the case: “The GSS requested authorization to interrogate youths, one of whom is 15 years old, on Shabbat, about property crimes. “It should not be that when cases of fire bombs thrown by Arabs are closed en masse, the GSS reveals excessive determination against Jews, while violating the sanctity of Shabbat. We ask the Prime Minister to order the GSS not to violate the sanctity of Shabbat and not to interrogate Jewish youths on Shabbat, especially since this week the court already leveled criticism at the interrogators for depriving the youth of their basic rights. Alleged property crimes should be treated as property crimes.”

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