Citing Coerced Confession, Israeli Army Court Releases British Man Accused of Aiding Hamas

A Lebanese-born man was arrested over security-related offenses, but military judge rules his confession to Shin Bet was given under duress and released him from custody.

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
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cuffs- Eyal Warshavsky / BauBau- Jul 06, 2005
Credit: Eyal Warshavsky
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

A military court released from custody last week a Lebanese-born British citizen suspected of security-related offenses after it ruled that his confession to the Shin Bet security service was coerced and therefore invalid.

The Judea Military Court's decision was first published by the Israeli news site Walla.

Faiz Mahmoud Ahmed Sherari, who was born in Lebanon and has resided in Britain for the past 23 years, was arrested upon attempting to leave Israel after a four-day stay in the country. He was interrogated by the Shin Bet on October 6.Citing coerced confession, Israeli army court releases British man accused of aiding Hamas

Sherari was charged with security-related offenses, including contact with a hostile organization, providing services for an unlawful association and bringing in enemy money to the area.

According to the indictment, during his visits to Lebanon since 2005, he has met with Hamed Haraz, a Hamas operative responsible with directing funding for Hamas into the West Bank. Sherari allegedly agreed to serve as a messenger between Haraz and other Hamas operatives, and in the past year agreed to transfer 50,000 euros and a cellular phone.

The military prosecution had requested to keep Sherari in custody until the end of proceedings.

The judge, Lt. Col. Azriel Levy, criticized the military prosecution and ruled that the defendant's rights were violated, and that his testimony presented to the court wasn’t submitted freely and voluntarily, rendering it invalid.

"There's no doubt that the defendant's confession, which was given an hour after the end of his Shin Bet interrogation, was dramatically influenced by the method if interrogation, which also included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant's demonstrated weakness," he said.

The judge emphasized that the offenses attributed to Sherari are grave, but that the evidence presented by the Shin Bet isn't enough to justify his remand until the end of proceedings.

The Shin Bet responded to the article: "Faiz Sherari was indicted at the Judea Military Court for grave offenses against the security of the region. During the procedure being carried out against him, the court, as mentioned, delivered its decision not to hold him in custody until the end of the proceedings, and ordered his release under restrictive conditions. An appeal against this decision was filed to the military appeals court, and a decision on the appeal has not yet been delivered.

"Besides the above, it should be emphasized that the allegations of torture during Faiz Sherari's investigation are baseless and groundless," it added.

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