Despite court rulings, Shin Bet still tortures Palestinian prisoners

Yuval Yoaz

HAARETZ

August 20, 2004

The Shin Bet security service continues to use violence in its interrogations of suspected terrorists, despite a 1999 High Court of Justice ruling that forbade violent interrogations except in the case of a "ticking bomb," a Shin Bet document obtained by Haaretz reveals.

The document constitutes the first official confirmation by the Shin Bet of numerous oral testimonies from Palestinians, which told of the agency's continued use of methods that the court defined as torture. It comes from the agency's file on the interrogation of Hamas operative Hussam Atef Badran, and was written by "Oz," who heads the interrogation department of the Shin Bet's Samaria District.

The document describes the Shin Bet's use of a painful technique called "hatayat gav" (back bending) against Badran, which involves bending the prisoner over backward and holding him in that position for up to half an hour.

The document states that this technique was used because Badran was believed to have information necessary to prevent an imminent terror attack. The document was originally obtained by Badran's attorney, and was then passed on to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI). The committee asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz two weeks ago to open an investigation into the affair, but has not yet received a reply.

PCATI believes that the use of violence in Badran's interrogation was not an isolated incident, given that many Palestinian detainees have made similar claims.