Image: phil Sparling, Flickr

Dear Friends,

Last week, Haaretz newspaper exposed an open secret: in a front page story, a Shin Bet interrogator testified, telling of his experiences as the person in charge of torture in interrogation rooms. This story was joined a day later by an editorial calling for an end to the use of torture in Israel.

The interrogator quoted in the story confirms what we at PCATI have known for years: the Shin Bet has an systemized mechanism for receiving permission for torture, a mechanism reaching to the highest levels. This is a routine process, employed not infrequently. The torture methods are carefully chosen so that on the one hand they will not leave marks, and on the other hand will be effective enough to break those questioned.

From the thousands of testimonies gathered over the years, we know that even torture which leaves no long-term physical signs causes immense physical and psychological damage. The tortured person faces immense difficulties in freeing himself from the trauma and resuming a routine life, and these difficulties can persist to the end of his days.

We treat many such cases. One of them is F, in whose name we presented a petition  to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) two years ago. F was subjected to a Shin Bet Interrogation which included severe torture, including techniques similar to those described in the Haaretz story. A physician examined F several months after the events and found the signs on his body. F was released from detention and submitted a complaint to the Inspector of Interrogee Complaints (IIC), the body charged with examining allegations against the Shin Bet.

It took the IIC three years to answer F's complaint; and after three years we were told that the file has been closed. We therefore appealed to the High Court, demanding that a criminal investigation be opened against F's interrogators. F's story is one of many: over 1,000 complaints alleging torture in the ISA have been presented since 2001, and not a single criminal investigation has been opened.

F's case will be heard by the High Court of Justice this coming Monday, 30/1/2017.

Torture must not occur. This is the message of the Haaretz Editorial. This is the message we want to convey to and hear from Israeli society: this is why we work to shed light on the doings in the shadows.

Join us at the HCJ hearing, Monday, 9:00 AM! We invite you to support us and assist in this crucial struggle.

Thank you,

Rachel Stroumsa, Director of PCATI

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Copyright © 2017 Public Committee against Torture in Israel, All rights reserved.

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