Avigdor Lieberman at Knesset press conference
Avigdor Lieberman at a Knesset press conference. Photo by Emil Salman
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Just a day after reports emerged that another nameless inmate had been jailed in Ayalon Prison at the same time and under similar conditions as alleged Mossad agent Prisoner X, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avigdor Lieberman called the case an "extremely severe incident" but maintained that Israel was acting within legal means.

During the committee's meeting Wednesday morning, Lieberman criticized publication of the affair, but added that such arrests are being supervised: "Following all the talk about prisoners X, Y and Z, I want to emphasize that the State of Israel abides by the law and all these incidents are being closely supervised by the legal and parliamentary establishment through Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee."

"Israel protects the rights of prisoners in accordance with the law. We handle the matter scrupulously, despite the severity of the case," Lieberman added.

News of an additional anonymous prisoner was discovered in one of the appendices to the transcription of the discussions and decisions made in the affair of Ben Zygier affair, the alleged Mossad agent whose incarceration and in-jail suicide was made public earlier this year.

President of the Central District Magistrate's Courts, Justice Dafna Baltman-Kardai, released the documents following an appeal by attorneys Tali Liblich and Yaron Shlomi.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also issued a statement on the case Wednesday, reiterating a statement he had made in February regarding Zygier: "There are no disappeared prisoners in Israel whose families don't know of their incarceration."

"The legal authorities do not handle their cases," he added. "Reports of each arrest are passed on to the relevant entities and are handled by the prosecution and courts, according to the law. Nonetheless, sometimes there are files whose existence cannot be released to the public, in order to present damage to state security. In these cases, a court gag order is imposed. There are also cases in which it is necessary to keep an inmate's name concealed to present damage to state security. Even in these cases, the prisoners' rights are meticulously protected, and these prisoners are certainly not 'hidden' from the courts."

On Tuesday, Attorney Avigdor Feldman, the last person to see Ben Zygier alive before he was found hanged in his cell in Ayalon Prison in 2010, said the offenses committed by this other inmate were far more severe.

According to Feldman, "this affair points to far more severe failures than the ones committed by the defense establishment in Zygier's case. Regarding Zygier's case, the authorities that recruited him didn't understand who they were dealing with and weren't aware of his conduct. Okay - that's a failure. Prisoner X number two is an entirely different story - a horrible security breach. When I heard the story, as an Israeli citizen I was shocked, and the subject was completely silenced by lawyers who enjoy close ties with the establishment. Whoever opens this affair will be doing the country a great service."