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GSS agent to testify in Kfar Duma trial

This item includes numerous links to previous items on the Kfar Duma case, including descriptions of torture undergone by interrogated detainees and a resultant suicide attempt. Sunday, December 9, 2018, 9:50 On Sunday, December 9, the evidentiary stage of the Kfar Duma trial in which the chief witness for the prosecution, the head of the GSS interrogation team, known as “Miguel”, who oversaw the torture carried out during interrogations of the case, will begin. The administrators of the “Duma Blood Libel” Facebook page: “Every Israeli citizen should be concerned that the chief witness in such a dramatic trial has continued his employment with the GSS as if nothing happened.” On the morning of Sunday, December 9, the evidentiary stage of the Kfar Duma trial will open at the Central District Court in Lod. At this stage dozens of witnesses for the prosecution are expected to give testimony during long days of deliberations which will be held weekly during the following months. Attorneys Tzion Amir, Adi Keidar, Asher Ohayon and Yitzhak Bam, who are representing the defendants Amiram Ben Uliel and the minor in the case, are expected to cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution – GSS agents, policemen, witnesses to the incident and various experts – in order to bring about the exoneration of the defendants in the case. The chief witness for the prosecution is a GSS agent known as “Miguel”, who already testified during the trial within a trial, the stage during which the admissibility of the confessions of defendants was examined. The Central District Court in Lod invalidated almost all of the confessions extracted from the minor and some of Ben Uliel’s confessions, and ruled that they had been extracted under duress – torture – and therefore were unreliable. The ruling relied partially on testimony from Miguel, who described the torture methods used during interrogations of the case. Today Miguel will testify under immunity in a closed courtroom, as he did previously. Leading up to Miguel’s testifying, there have been calls to prevent him from testifying in the case, and to put him behind bars. Ori Kirshenbaum, one of the “Duma Blood Libel” Facebook page administrators explained the reasoning: “During the trial within a trial the head of the team of interrogators, who will arrive today to testify in court, described how he participated in the torture of the interrogated detainees. For example he described how as other interrogators bent the back of a handcuffed and leg-cuffed interrogatee backwards and he was writhing in pain, Miguel shouted at him, ‘Confess!’ “In a state of law a cruel man like him would be sitting behind bars. Every Israeli citizen should be concerned that the chief witness in such a dramatic trial has continued his employment with the GSS as if nothing happened.” See here for a description of torture methods and here for a report of a suicide attempt by one of the detainees in the case. During his testimony at the trial within a trial Miguel, who was present at some of the interrogations during which methods of torture were applied, confirmed that the means used were “painful and perhaps even very painful,” (page 748, lines 30-31 of the court minutes) and he himself had tried them on himself in the past. In his court testimony, the minor in the case described what he had undergone during an interrogation at which Miguel was present: “The pain was not normal… After a few minutes I started to really scream. I cried to them and pleaded with them to leave me alone and to release me. I was really begging. I asked them what they wanted… And then they blindfolded me again. I don’t remembered the exact order. They slapped me again and bent me backwards. Every time they bent me backwards and raised me and I didn’t communicate with them, I lowered my head and then they put fingers into my chin and forcibly lifted it. “My entire neck hurt and it was a bit difficult to breathe. They applied pressure to my ribs over my entire rib-cage. They grabbed my pectoral muscle and jabbed their fingers into it. They jabbed their fingers hard into my scapular muscle. They shook me, yelled, cursed, humiliated me in the worst ways possible. And then they bent me back again, lifted me, applied pressure. They also punched me in the shins when my back was stretched backwards. That stretched my shin muscle and the punches caught the muscle. That was repeated until in the end I broke and asked them, ‘To what do you want me to confess?’” In related news, on December 3, Ori Kirshenbaum and Michael Fuah, the administrators of the Facebook page “Duma Blood Libel” began distribution of a new booklet “The Duma Blood Libel: How to Frame Someone in the State of Israel”. The booklet details how Amiram Ben Uliel and A., the minor in the Kfar Duma arson incident case, have been framed for the incident and how an unreliable, fabricated story formed the basis for their indictment. Ben Uliel is charged with carrying out the arson itself and A. is charged with assisting him in planning the arson, but not with participating in the incident. Thousands of copies of the booklet have already been distributed and it has raised a media storm in the on-line social media. Dr. Anat Roth, an Israeli researcher in the field of political science, recently wrote on her Facebook page: “The hairs found on the body of Tair Rada, z”l, raised a public media storm, and rightfully so. [In October 2018 new evidence was discovered in the case of Rada, z”l a schoolgirl murdered in 2006, which may influence the case of Ramon Zadorov, who has been serving a prison sentence for the crime.] We all want to live in a state in which trials are just and people do not rot in prison when there are serious doubts concerning their part in carrying out a crime. Amiram Ben Uliel, the youth (now aged 24) charged with carrying out the arson in Kfar Duma, has been rotting in prison for three years already, after he confessed in the framework of GSS interrogations which included most severe torture, to carrying out the arson.” And added that, “I do not know what happened in Duma. However it is completely clear that there are too many questions about this incident that do not allow rest, and this shocking testimony raises several more of them.”

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