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GSS compensated illegally recruited youth

Sunday, August 26, 2018, 14:41 The General Security Service (GSS) paid 6,500 NIS in compensation to a youth who was summoned to an interrogation at the police station by an official police summons form, but upon his arrival discovered that the matter at hand was an inquiry with a GSS agent intended to recruit him as a source of information. Such a recruitment constitutes a violation of the law and a fraudulent and illegal misrepresentation of a police interrogation, because in fact the purpose of the summons was a preliminary inquiry conducted by a representative of the GSS. Approximately one year ago the Supreme Court unequivocally prohibited the GSS from using this method to summon citizens for recruiting purposes. The incident for which the youth was compensated occurred one year ago, during the summer of 2017, when a policeman talked with the youth by phone and requested that he come to the Northern District Police Station. The youth requested a written summons and one week later he received an official police summons form which specified that the purpose of the summons was an interrogation. When he arrived at the station he was taken to one of the rooms for a preliminary inquiry by the GSS, and not interrogated by the police at all. During the discussion the GSS representative attempted to recruit the youth and to convince him to regularly hold conversations between them. The youth did not cooperate. At no time during the preliminary inquiry was the youth informed that he was not obligated to cooperate with the inquiry, that he could leave, that nothing he said would be used against him and that if he left the inquiry no sanctions whatsoever would be taken against him, according to the guidelines set by the Supreme Court for the GSS with regards to citizens being questioned. On behalf of the youth, Honenu filed a complaint against the GSS with the department of the Justice Ministry which examines interrogees’ complaints and with the Public Complaints Officer in the Northern Police District where the incident took place. The youth did not receive any reply from either of them and subsequently, with an additional complainant who had a similar experience, filed a civil suit with the Tzfat Magistrate Court. The statement of claim mentions that the police summoned the complainants to an interrogation with an official police summons form, when in fact an inquiry by the GSS in any police interrogation facility “deviates from the obligation of the GSS to the State [of Israel], and the directives of the Supreme Court to the GSS,” and also, “The police and the GSS violated explicit directives from the Supreme Court, violated basic freedoms of the complainants without authority to do so, and damaged the character of the State [of Israel] as a democratic state.” The youth sued the GSS for 15,000 NIS in compensation for illegal violation of his freedom and civil security. Following negotiations with the attorney representing the GSS, a representative of the Northern District Attorney, Hadas Alkobi Malachi, the two sides agreed that the suit would be dropped, the youth would not be required to pay court fees and in return the GSS would pay the youth 6,500 NIS in compensation. The GSS did not file a statement of defense against the suit filed by the youth. Honenu is currently handling several similar cases and emphasizes that the GSS is not authorized to require people to come to inquiries or discussions, and if they do so, it constitutes a violation of the law and they are obligated to compensate the affected individuals. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who represented the youth: “We are forced to fight tooth and nail against the wearing away of the rights of right-wing activists by the security authorities, which is supported by the public and the Supreme Court. After the internal review authorities ignored our requests, we filed a legitimate civil suit. The Attorney General’s office did not even file a statement of defense on behalf of the GSS. Instead, both sides agreed to drop the case since the GSS, also according to the understanding of the Attorney General’s office, undoubtedly operated illegally.”

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