Australia to Inquire Into Own Behavior in Prisoner X Affair

Israel had advised the embassy that an Australian citizen was being detained, but the information was never passed on, Australian FM admits.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Israeli authorities told a diplomat at the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv about the arrest of Australian citizen Ben Zygier – but the diplomat never relayed the information to Canberra through the conventional channels, a spokesman for Australian Foreign Affairs Minister admitted early Wednesday morning.

Carr has therefore ordered a new investigation of the Australian authorities’ behavior in the affair.

In his first comment on the affair, Carr said that the Australian authorities had not known of Zygier’s arrest until his family contacted the embassy in Tel Aviv, asking for help in bringing his body to Melbourne for burial.

But according to the newspaper The Australian, after the affair exploded in the media, Carr changed his story. He now admits that Israel told the embassy in Tel Aviv about the arrest, but the information was never passed on.

At this stage, the Australian government has not asked Israel for clarifications.

An official spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Minsitry in Canberra told Haaretz that Zygier’s family did not ask the government for assistance other than in flying Zygier’s body to Melbourne, nor did it ask for an investigation of the affair.

A spokesman for Carr said that the internal investigation that will be held may or may not include a request to Israel for clarifications.

Zygier’s uncle in Australia, who was interviewed on the radio early this morning, said the family is in deep mourning but refused to provide any more details. Zygier’s parents have turned down all requests for interviews.

Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr speaking during a media conference in Colombo, December 17, 2012. Credit: Reuters

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