Daharia detainees: The police are using every trick in the book to incriminate us

Thursday, December 6, 11:14 Fictitious news reports, interrogation by “Mossad agents”, “fellow inmates” trying to get detainees to talk, and physical violence were the methods that the police used on those suspected of setting a car on fire in Daharia, an Arab village near Hevron. Honenu attorneys state: The police are going through a great deal of effort to find evidence, apparently the case is baseless. At midnight last night, the court order preventing the three detainees in the Daharia vehicular arson case from speaking to an attorney expired. They were detained late on Sunday night, met last (Wednesday) night for the first time with attorneys from Honenu, and related to them their experiences during detention and interrogation. According to the attorneys, from conversations with the detainees it appears that the evidence in the hands of the police is quite weak and therefore they are using unusual means to extract even false confessions. Once a detainee confesses falsely in order to avoid discomfort or police brutality it is usually accepted in the courts even though evidence proves the opposite. Shortly after their detention on Sunday night, a Honenu attorney arrived at the detention centers at which the detainees are being held. The detainees are being held in separate cells, each one in a different detention center (Hevron, Ma’ale Adumim and the Russian Compound in Jerusalem), apparently in order to isolate them and thereby increase the pressure on them. The police, in violation of the law, refused to allow the detainees to meet with an attorney, claiming that they intended to request a court order banning them from speaking to an attorney. Later, in an unusual step, a court order was issued at the request of the police. Honenu notes that this is an unusual procedure which has been used in only a few of the “price tag” incident cases. Ordinarily a court order such as this is requested only in serious criminal investigations, such as particularly severe incidents of murder or rape, in which there is a genuine concern that a meeting with an attorney will disrupt the investigation. During the remand, Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed two petition, one with the Jerusalem District Court, and the other with the Supreme Court of Israel, in order to cancel the unusual court order preventing the detainees from meeting with an attorney. Both of the petitions were rejected. As stated above at midnight last night the court order expired and Honenu attorneys met last night and this morning with the detainees. According to attorneys, Yehuda Shoshan and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who met with the detainees on behalf of Honenu, the detainees are in good spirits and stable despite the pressure applied to them by the police. Each one of the detainees individually said that during interrogation a fictitious “news broadcast” of Kol Yisrael was aired in their cells reporting that his two friends, the other detainees, had confessed to setting the car on fire. In one of the “broadcasts,” the detainee witnessed a heated discussion between the interrogators concerning the “information” which had been given to the media too early. According to the detainees they understood that the fictitious news broadcasts were intended to pressure them. “The methods used by the police to extort confessions are known to everyone,” said one of the detainees and added, “When I heard the ‘news’ I just started to laugh in the interrogation room.” The detainees also said that the police planted “inmates” in the cells in order to get them to confess. In one of the cases an interrogator was presented to the detainee as a Mossad agent in order to give the impression that the investigation was important on a national level. The detainees said that more than once physical violence was used on them in order to cause them discomfort. Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the attorneys handling the case for Honenu, said that the police told one of the detainees that they had been watching him already for over half a year. “Half a year of surveillance has not resulted in any evidence. I think that that begs a question,” said Ben-Gvir. “It clearly seems that the evidence in the hands of the police has much less basis than has been presented to the media. The police are trying to acquire evidence at any cost – and as far as they are concerned, justifiably so. With the evidence they have now they do not have much chance in court,” concluded Ben-Gvir. Yehuda Shoshan, who represented the detainees in court on behalf of Honenu, said after conversing with them that, “The Israeli Police rushed to the media and publicized much information from the investigation at the same time that they prevented attorneys from communicating with the detainees. There has been no progress in the investigation, despite the corrupt attempts by the police to convince our clients to admit to carrying out acts which they deny doing. Today, a deliberation will take place on the appeal which we filed with the district court on the duration of their remand, in the hope that they will be released as soon as possible.”

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