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Illegal GSS questioning, again

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado; Photo credit: Honenu

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 10:43 In mid-June, Y. was summoned to the police station in Tzfat and was convinced that he was being called to a police interrogation. When he arrived at the station he was surprised to discover that he had been summoned to a GSS questioning by means of a police summons form despite a prohibition to use a police summons in this way. Several weeks previously the Mivtan, the department of the Justice Ministry which is authorized to investigate complaints by GSS interrogatees, ordered clarification of GSS procedures on this matter and the prohibition was set. Additionally, at the beginning of the questioning Y. was not told that he was allowed to leave, which is also against the law. Y. said that on the day before the questioning policemen arrived at his home and presented his mother with a police summons form for him. On the afternoon of the following day, Y. reported to the police station and asked the policemen present in the room to show him their police identification cards. He stated that they presented to him identification cards indicating that they were from “The Office of the Prime Minister”. Despite his requests they refused to give him their names. Y. understood from this that he was at a GSS questioning and attempted to leave the station. The policemen refused to open the gate for him and he returned to the questioning. Y., who was careful to maintain his right to remain silent, was questioned by a GSS agent who went by the name “Illouz”. The questioning lasted for approximately one hour, at the end of which Y. was released. Y. was not interrogated by the police. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado sent a complaint to the Mivtan, a matter of weeks after they had responded to a similar complaint, noting that the Mivtan had already stated that, “There are no grounds for summoning an individual to a GSS questioning by means of a police document.” The complaint describes how Y. arrived at the Tzfat Police Station and “At the station [the agent known as] ‘Illouz’ was awaiting him and conducted his GSS questioning. The GSS currently repeated behavior that was already determined unacceptable and authorized as such.” The complaint continued: “Illouz” did not verify that Y. was aware that he not obligated to participate in the discussion and “also this was contrary to rules which the High Court of Justice set. Moreover, when my client understood that it was a GSS questioning he asked to leave the station, however the policemen did not open the gate for him and he was forced to remain in the station.” In the conclusion of the complaint Yado noted that the previous response from the Mivtan was received three years after it was filed: “I hope that I will receive a quicker reply this time, concerning the summons via a police form and the fact that [the agent] known as ‘Illouz’ did not verify with my client that his presence at the questioning was voluntary and that he was allowed to leave, and also their refusal to open the gate to the station.” Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “The High Court of Justice rules, the office of the Attorney General censures, but the GSS adamantly continues its attempts to abuse the advantage it has over youths in order to illegally act against them, to violate their freedom, their right to privacy and their right to dignity. We will continue to protect them and their rights.”

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