Monday, October 21, 2019

Israel Top Court rules "a dangerous precedent for the use of torture"


By Ary Gotlib - November 27, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [prisoners] [torture] [high court] [Israeli Justice System] [Israeli High Court]

According to Jerusalem Post, Israel’s High Court of Justice on November 26, ruled Israeli authorities’ torture of a Hamas suspect was not illegal and that the Israel's internal security service (also called Shin Bet) interrogators do not need to be prosecuted. 

The case studied concerned the interrogation of Fares Tbeish in September 2012.
 
In 2012, this Palestinian prisoner was allegedly forced by Shin Bet official into stress positions, including arching and tying the body in the “banana” position and repeated beatings and threats reported Mintpress.
 
After lower courts ruled that the torture was justified, his case was brought to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ).
 
However, the HCJ held that Shin Bet agents who surpass their authority and use “physical pressure” may not necessarily be accountable of criminal responsibility for their actions.
 
In the case that they are later proved to have used these techniques in a “ticking bomb” case, based on the "necessity defense” informed Mintpress.
 
The ruling sets a dangerous precedent for the future use of torture and the expansion of such methods used against Palestinians.
 
Furthermore, this regulation violates the United Nations Convention Against Torture ratified by Israel in 1986 - an agreement that Israel has never really translated into its national legislation according to +972 magazine.
 
“The ruling shows that in the eyes of the High Court, physical abuse is a legitimate and [...] the preferable way of carrying out an interrogation in cases of national security [threat],” Itamar Mann, a law lecturer at Haifa University, told +972.
 
In their jurisprudence, HCJ concluded that the tactics employed against Tbeish were “proportionate and reasonable in relation to the danger that arose from the intelligence.”
 
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, “In interrogating Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, the Israel Security Agency routinely used methods that constituted ill-treatment and even torture until the late 1990s.”
 
Israel Justice Ministry, in 2001, appointed a special investigator of torture allegations against the Shin Bet.
 
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and other organizations submitted over 1,100 complaints of torture.
 
Among them,only one resulted in a criminal investigation, and it was not directly related to an interrogation, as related in +972 and Al Jazeera.
 
According to +972, Bana Shoughry, who headed the legal department of PCATI between 2008 and 2015 believes the recent decision in the HCJ will halt any Shin Bet interrogators being held accountable for their actions in the future.
 
For Itamar Mann this ruling means that “anyone who is (1) part of a designated terrorist organization (such as Hamas); and (2) is involved in armed activity, may be subject to 'special methods’ [i.e. torture] if (3) no other way to obtain crucial information is available” he told Middle East Monitor.

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