Lieberman: No Indication Israel Acted Inappropriately in Prisoner X Affair

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The Knesset Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services has opened an in-depth investigation into the Prisoner X affair, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday, adding that probes undertaken thus far found no inappropriate conduct on the part of Israel.

"All of the conversation and examination with the relevant bodies thus far have shown no defect in the conduct of these bodies," said Lieberman. "The prisoner received all of the rights entitled to him under the law. The affair was carried out in its entirety with the right legal advice of the justice system at its most senior levels. We will continue this in-depth investigation and its conclusion will update the public and the various other bodies."

"In the State of Israel, people do not disappear, and nobody determines his own judgment," Lieberman added.

The Prisoner X affair riled Israeli and foreign media earlier this month when an Australian news outlet revealed dual Israeli-Australian citizen Ben Zygier to be the mysterious prisoner and alleged Mossad agent found dead after apparent suicide in an isolation cell in the Ayalon Prison.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who oversees the Mossad's activities, last week rejected criticism of the organization for its handling of the affair. In the first Israeli response to the affair, Netanyahu spoke out in defense of the government's legal advisor and the state prosecution, claiming that the gag orders initially issued on the affair did not infringe on freedom of expression.

"I would like to open the meeting by saying that I trust the security forces of the State of Israel completely. They work with endless dedication to ensure that we can live in this land. I also have absolute trust in the legal authorities of the State of Israel," the prime minister said.

"Israel's security and intelligence forces act under the full supervision of the legal authorities, which are completely independent. In providing for security and enforcing the law, freedom of expression is also protected. But we need to remember that we are not like the other states."

"We are an exemplary democratic state and we protect the rights of the interrogated and individual rights no less than any other country. But we are also more threatened and face more challenges, and thus we must maintain the proper activities of our security services. Therefore I ask of everyone: Let the security forces continue to do their work undisturbed, so that we can continue to live in security and tranquility in the State of Israel."

Mossad agent Ben Zygier: His suicide in an Israeli prison was concealed by a gag order.Credit: Handout

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