GSS interrogators threaten detained youths

Monday, July 20, 2015, 15:07 On Monday, July 20 Honenu attorneys Yuval Zemer and Aharon Roza were finally allowed to meet with some of the youths who have been detained for more than one week on suspicion of involvement with an arson incident at a church in the region of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The detainees revealed to the attorneys that they were abused by the GSS interrogators who threatened them, humiliated them and shouted at them. They are being held in a GSS facility, in solitary confinement under extremely harsh conditions including interrogation on Shabbat. Zemer stated that his client, a 16 year old minor, was “extremely brutally” interrogated and was prevented from meeting with an attorney for five days. At a deliberation on his case it was revealed that he was interrogated eight times in three days, three by the police and five by the GSS. “For many hours he was interrogated while he was handcuffed to his chair and several interrogators were shouting at him and threatening him. Also, despite the fact that he is religious he was interrogated twice on Shabbat, without there being any justification for doing so,” said Honenu attorney Yuval Zemer and added that, “These actions were meant to break his spirit but did not succeed. The very use of such methods indicates the desperation of the investigators, who know that he is being held on suspicions which are not connected in any way to the incident.” Unfortunately abuse of detainees by GSS interrogators is not a new phenomenon. In February 2013, 16 year old youths were held in cells meant for terrorists. For more information on the case, including release of the detainees due to lack of progress in the investigation, see here. Also in May 2014, there were several cases in which the GSS placed detainees under extreme physical and psychological pressure, including interrogations 21 hours a day and interrogations on Shabbat, which prompted the father of a detainee to request intervention by the Chief Rabbis of Israel so that his son would not be forced to violate Shabbat. In June 2014, following reports by Honenu on the abuse by GSS interrogators of detainees, Member of Knesset David Azoulai (Shas) asked the Prime Minister to look into the matter. Almost one year later the abuse had not ceased. In March of 2015 two detainees were held for prolonged interrogations by the GSS for 11 days, during the first nine of which they were banned from meeting with an attorney. The detainees described severe interrogations during which their interrogators insulted them, threatened them and shouted at them while they were shackled to a small chair attached to the floor, sometimes for 16 hours straight.

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