Israeli interrogators abused Palestinians: report


JERUSALEM: Israeli Shin Bet undercover agents have abused Palestinians during questioning at a detention centre, some detainees have alleged in a report published on Tuesday by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
The report was based on the testimonies of 121 Palestinians held in 2009 at the Petah Tikva holding facility near Tel Aviv, with 9 percent of those interviewed accusing interrogators of using physical violence against them.
“The violations include cruel detention conditions in sealed cells, in isolation and disgraceful hygienic conditions, continuous cuffing … sleep deprivation, and other methods that harm the detainees physically and mentally,” the report said.
Shin Bet is Israel’s domestic intelligence agency tasked with safeguarding state security, protecting key Israeli installations and spearheading counter-terrorism operations.
The Israeli Justice Ministry said the B’Tselem report had made “generalised assumptions … without basis except for anonymous general statements that are not backed up with detailed data that can be confirmed or ruled out”.
B’Tselem, that looks out for abuses against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank, also said Palestinians had lodged hundreds of complaints against undercover interrogators, but that none had culminated in a criminal investigation.
“Since 2001, Palestinians interrogated by (Israeli security) agents have filed 645 complaints to the Ministry of Justice regarding the manner in which they were interrogated. Not one of the complaints led to a criminal investigation against the interrogator,” the report summary said.
The Justice Ministry rejected the allegations and said the military had carried out hundreds of investigations into allegations of violence against detainees.
The report added that the detainees continued to be treated badly after their interrogation had ended and argued that Israel could not say the behaviour was a necessary means to prevent bombing attacks on Israelis.