Suspects' Lawyers Cry Foul Over Jail Conditions

Attorneys representing two of the main suspects in the Holyland corruption scandal accused the authorities yesterday of worsening their jail conditions to "break their spirit" before police questioning.

Former Jerusalem deputy mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, who has been accused of taking a bribe in exchange for intervening on behalf of the Holyland real-estate project, has been placed in three different holding facilities in his 11 days in custody.

After initially being held in Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Simhayoff has been moved to Nitzan Prison in Ramle and the Hasharon facility near Netanya.

"What's the purpose of having Simhayoff in Ashkelon if the police unit investigating the case, the National Fraud Squad, is based in Lod?" asked his lawyer, Moshe Yitzhak Osditsher. "The trips between the various holding facilities are meant to break his spirit."

Similar complaints were made by the lawyer for real estate and property developer Meir Rabin, who was arrested more than two weeks ago. Rabin is considered a pivotal player in the investigation for his alleged role as the conduit, involved in transferring bribe money.

According to attorney Giora Zilberstein, Rabin is deliberately being held in substandard conditions at the Abu Kabir detention facility to "break him" psychologically before police questioning.

The police told the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court that they have kept the suspects in various jails throughout the country to prevent them from coordinating their stories.