Israel's Top Court Okays Barring Two Suspects of Security Offenses From Seeing Lawyer

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The Israeli Supreme CourtCredit: Oren Ben Hakun

The Supreme Court has allowed the Shin Bet security service to prevent two suspects of security offenses from meeting with their lawyers this week.

The investigation does not involve the Shin Bet’s Jewish division. Everyone involved has signed a confidentiality agreement regarding the nature of the suspicions.

Justice Ofer Grosskopf, who rejected the appeal of a Lod District Court ruling that bars the two from seeing a legal counsel, explained his decision by referring to classified reports he was given.

“After hearing the parties’ arguments and reading through the materials submitted to me ex parte and hearing explanations from the respondents’ attorneys and others on their behalf, I came to the conclusion that there’s no reason to intervene in the decision of the lower court,” he wrote.

Preventing suspects from seeing a lawyer is a measure generally employed in investigations of Palestinian terror suspects or against Jews being questioned by the Shin Bet’s Jewish division. The fact that it is being used in this case indicates that the defense establishment considers it extremely sensitive. 

The law allows a Shin Bet division head to bar security suspects from seeing a lawyer for a period of up to 10 days, if there’s concern that such a meeting “could interfere with exposing or obtaining evidence or disrupt the investigation in any other way.” Extending the ban requires the approval of the attorney general and the approval of the district court president or vice president. An appeal of that decision must be heard by a Supreme Court justice.