Innocent people are being jailed because of the dubious interrogation methods used by Israeli police. The stark finding was one of many that were uncovered by a recent report compiled by Israeli academic researchers, details of which were reported by the Haaretz newspaper.
Israel is one of only two countries that are said to be using interrogation techniques that include lying to suspects to get a confession. Interrogators in Israel are allowed to lie to suspects about testimony, recordings, fingerprints and video clips.
In stark contrast, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands forbid interrogators from lying to suspects in interrogation rooms. France and Switzerland don’t forbid it unequivocally, but interrogators don’t do it, the report says. Israel also does not recognise the suspects’ right to be interrogated in the presence of their lawyers.
Apparently, the main interrogation model in the US and in Israel, known as the Reid Technique, is more aggressive than in other democracies. Under this model, the interrogators try to extract a confession of guilt from the suspect at almost any cost. Moreover, the presumption of innocence is replaced with the presumption of guilt.
The Reid Technique is said to be unacceptable in most of the other countries in the study. In Belgium, Britain and Germany, for example the interrogation method, called Peace, is used. It is much softer and consists of the interrogator encouraging the suspect to tell his version. The interrogator must ask open-ended questions and avoid complicated questions as much as possible to avoid confusion.
Israel’s favoured technique has led to false convictions, the report found. Several examples of miscarriages of justice were cited where the Supreme Court acquitted the perpetrator. In 2018 a committee to examine wrongful convictions was set up to avoid similar miscarriages of justice.