Israel to Compensate Palestinian for Disability Caused by Interrogation

Jamal Mustafa al-Hindi, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claims Shin Bet investigators tortured him 15 years ago and forced him to confessing to murder.

The Shin Bet has agreed to compensate a Palestinian former militant who claimed that he had become permanently disabled due to torture he underwent during interrogation by agents of the security services.

The Shin Bet was ordered by the court in the wake of a lawsuit to compensate Jamal Mustafa al-Hindi, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Al-Hindi said that torture during his arrest 15 years ago for his alleged role in murder two Israelis caused him 30 percent disability.

The Shin Bet does not normally compensate people following interrogation, regardless of claims of torture.

Jamal Mustafa al-Hindi- Miki Kratsman
Miki Kratsman

Two weeks after Ori Shahor, 19, and Ohad Bachrach, 18, were shot at short range while hiking in Wadi Qelt national park in the northern Judean Desert in 1995, the  Shin Bet arrested al-Hindi, a resident of the West Bank city of Qalqilyah.

Al-Hindi was well known to Israeli security services and and had already served three sentences in the past for throwing firebombs, posting flyers on behalf of the PFLP movement and abducting suspected collaborators of Israel.

Al-Hindi was transferred to a Shin Bet interrogating facility in Petah Tikva, and according to his testimony, was subsequently subjected to several methods of torture: his hands and feet were bound by handcuffs to a forward-tilted chair, his head was covered by a sackcloth, loud music was constantly played to him, he was forced into painful positions, was beaten and deprived of sleep.

In addition, al-Hindi claimed interrogators threatened to kill him and destroy his house.

According to his testimony, al-Hindi asked Shin Bet investigators to give him a clear set of charges that he could confess so as to be "left alone."

He said that the investigators urged him to "'tell us how you killed the two Jews in Wadi Qelt.' So I began to tell them stories."

According to al-Hindi, the investigators told him how the murder had been committed, and he was then asked to reconstruct the details. Palestinians framed by al-Hindi's testimony were arrested and incarcerated by the Palestinian Authority.

After the investigation, al-Hindi took back his confession, claiming that he had been pressured into lying. Eventually, al-Hindi had an alibi for the day of the murder - that he been working in the West Bank settlements Alfei Menashe and Tzofim - proved true.

His employer verified that he had indeed been on the job and the charges against al-Hindi's were lessened to membership in a militant organization. He was released six months later.

Al-Hindi filed a damages suit against the Shin Bet and his investigators in 1996. A doctor who examined him confirmed he suffered from 30 percent psychiatric disability.

The Shin Bet did not refer to the details of the court ruling when announcing its decision to compensate. In a statement issued following the verdict, the organization said "it has not admitted the plaintiff's accusations and is not responsible in any way for his condition."