Key Suspect in Duma Case Was Tortured, Lawyer Claims

Suspect's attorney claims Shin Bet subjected his client to sexual harassment and sleep deprivation, and tied him to his bed.

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The mother of Palestinian Saad Dawabsha, who was killed alongside his toddler and his wife when their house was firebombed by Jewish extremists on July 31, 2015 in the West Bank village of Duma, weeps by her son's tomb on December 4, 2015.
The mother of Palestinian Saad Dawabsha, who was killed when their house was firebombed in the West Bank village of Duma, weeps by her son's tomb on December 4, 2015.Credit: AFP

The key suspect in the Duma arson and murder trial was subjected to torture during interrogation, his attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said Tuesday morning, reiterating claims that have been made over the past few days.

“My client was subjected to sexual harassment, to violation of what is most sacred to him in his world of observing the Torah and its commandments, as well as being deprived of sleep for a very long period. After interrogators pass through these stages and my client sticks to his truth they get a license to kill” Ben-Gvir said at a press conference he called outside the Magistrate Court in Petah Tikva.

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks at a press conference on Dec. 17, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

“At one point, four thugs entered his room, beating him and tying him to his bed. Shocking and horrifying descriptions emerged, such as tying him in awkward positions, knocking him over repeatedly until he screams: ‘enough, leave me alone, I want to go, I didn’t do anything.’ However, they told him that they’d continue until he confessed.”

Ben-Gvir said, “I’m ashamed that in Israel of 2015 this is how the Shin Bet behaves. I’m ashamed that the Attorney General and state prosecutors assented to this. I’m ashamed that some judges agreed to this awful reality, were indifferent or did not order that he be brought to court during the days in which he was subjected to torture. My client needs a psychiatrist and medical attention.”

Attorney Ben-Gvir demanded that the investigation be halted over the alleged torture.

On Friday, lawyers of the Jewish suspects claimed publically that investigators were torturing their clients during questioning.

Two days later, one of the suspects in the case detailed the alleged torture in court:  "They turn me upside down until my hands start burning – it feels like they are burning me with a lighter. They are taking me apart, bending my whole back, laughing and looking at me with contempt."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the Shin Bet on Monday in light of the claims. Speaking at the weekly Likud faction meeting, he said Shin Bet investigators have not participated in any deviation from procedure.

Shin Bet officials believe suspects will be indicted for the arson attack in the coming days.

The security service said earlier this month that several Jewish suspects were arrested in the case in November. The suspects were only allowed to meet their lawyers last week. 

In July, the home of the Dewabsheh family in the village of Duma was set on fire. The blaze killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and his parents, Saad and Riham. The couple's older son, Ahmed, 4, was wounded in the attack. A witness said he saw four people escaping the scene toward the Maale Efraim settlement. The Israeli army defined the attack as "Jewish terrorism."