AR-Online logo 



Posted Thursday, May 27, 1999

Quick navigation


May 26, 1999

Torture Ban Argued in Israel

MARK LAVIE Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) -- In a landmark case before Israel's Supreme Court, human rights lawyers argued Wednesday that torture of Palestinian suspects is illegal and should be banned, but admitted that there are cases in which physical abuse might be acceptable.

Arguing for an injunction against interrogation tactics by Shin Bet security service on suspected Palestinian militants, human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel told the court of Palestinian clients who had been severely beaten, tied to chairs and walls, deprived of sleep and then released without being charged.

"I believe the court must make a clear decision that these things are absolutely forbidden," she told the nine-judge panel.  

Tsemel charged that interrogators try to hide their damage. She showed the court a pair of red and white elastic wrist bands, usually worn by athletes. She said the Shin Bet uses them to cover up their practice of clamping handcuffs so tight that they cause bleeding and swelling.

"First they put these on, then the handcuffs," she said, handing the bands to the state's attorney, Shai Nitzan.

The Shin Bet received approval for some of its tactics in 1987, when a government commission permitted "moderate physical pressure" as a means of extracting vital information from suspects.

The court has upheld that decision successively in appeals brought by individuals who sought injunctions against their interrogators. The case before Israel's highest court Wednesday was the first time the judges were to consider Israel's overall policy of using physical force.

The court did not say when they would issue a decision on the continued use of the tactics.

Related stories: Canaadian Jewish leader Bernie Farber approves torture of prisoners

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#14 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

© Focal Point 1999 e-mail:  write to David Irving