In an unusual move, the Shin Bet security service has agreed to compensate Jamal al-Hindi, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for a partial disability that he says is due to having been tortured by Shin Bet agents 15 years ago. The amount of compensation remains secret by court order.
On July 18, 1995, Ohad Bachrach, 18, of Beit El and Uri Shachor, 19, of Ra’anana were murdered as they swam in Wadi Kelt. The perpetrators shot them at close range.
Two weeks after the murder, the Shin Bet arrested al-Hindi, a PFLP member from Qalqilyah, as a suspect. Hindi had served three prison terms in the past − for throwing a firebomb, putting up PFLP posters and kidnapping Palestinians who allegedly collaborated with Israel.
In a lawsuit filed subsequently, Hindi detailed the torture he underwent, including being handcuffed in painful positions, deprived of sleep, shaken and slapped. He alleged that his interrogators threatened to kill him and destroy his home.
In the end, he confessed to the two murders, but said he did so because he just wanted to be left alone. “They said, ‘Tell us how you, together with Yusuf and Shaher al-Ra’i, murdered the two Jews in Wadi Kelt.’ So I started telling them stories.”
The other two men he named were arrested by the Palestinian Authority.
After the investigation, Hindi claimed he was bullied into a false confession. And he apparently had an alibi: On the day of the murder, he had worked in the settlements of Alfei Menashe and Tzofim. His name had been recorded for security reasons, and his employers confirmed his story.
The murder charge was therefore dropped, and he served six months for belonging to the PFLP.
In 1996, he sued, and the doctor who examined him confirmed that he suffered a 30 percent psychiatric disability.
Fourteen years later, the Shin Bet has finally agreed to compensate him, though without admitting wrong or accepting responsibility. But the court ordered the details of the agreement kept secret.
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