Portuguese / Spanish / English

Israel interrogators sleep-deprived, tortured Palestinian detainee, Shin Bet review finds

Israeli interrogators torture and sleep-deprive Palestinian detainee Tarek Bargut

A Palestinian prisoner was subjected to days-long interrogation 14 times while cuffed by Israeli security agency Shin Bet. He was also forced into painful stress positions, beaten and deprived of sleep.

However, the Israeli Justice Ministry refused to launch a criminal case investigating the torture, which Palestinian prisoner Tarek Bargut described as "cruel, inhuman and humiliating."

Tarek, a criminal attorney who represented many Palestinians accused of terror attacks and other security offences, was arrested in February 2019, for shooting at vehicles near Ramallah.

According to a complaint filed against Shin Bet on 29 March 2019, which the Israeli Justice Ministry ignored, Tarek suffered sleep deprivation and psychological torture, including seeing interrogators arresting his wife and forcing him to watch her being led away in handcuffs.

Tarek added that the Shin Bet interrogator beat him every time he fell asleep and cursed and shouted at him during the interrogation.

Shlomi Abramson, the head of the Investigations Unit for Special Missions in the police service, confirmed that the "the complainant was indeed deprived of sleep during long periods of interrogation."

READ: UNRWA demands Israel immediately release detained Palestinian boy

According to the details of the report, Tarek was interrogated 14 times in "extended interrogations," lasting between 27 hours and 47 hours and 55 minutes. Only when Tarek began to accept the accusation against him under pressure, did the interrogations become shorter.

A person close to Bargut told Haaretz: "Sitting on a chair when your hands are cuffed tightly for two days and nights, and you are treated brutally to wake you up, shouldn't this be called torture? Beyond this, improper use made of the arrest of family members to wring out a confession. When they showed him his wife under arrest, it was intended to pressure him as he saw her crying and shaking."

Despite the findings, Shin Bet said: "It was determined that the findings do not justify launching a criminal investigation or taking disciplinary or other steps against any of the interrogators."

"Tarek Bargut was convicted by his confession in the framework of a plea bargain of serious security offences, and he was sentenced to a lengthy prison term."

The Israeli Justice Ministry also responded, "The supervisors of security interrogations monitored the interrogation of Tarek Bargut at various segments of time. In the segments that were monitored no irregularities or support for the complainant's claims were found and exceptional events did not emerge."

Israeli authorities routinely commit flagrant violations against Palestinian prisoners, including depriving them of the right to healthcare, protection from infectious diseases and non-discrimination.

According to Palestinian NGOs, there are 4,500 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, including 34 women and 180 children, and around 500 are being held under Israel's administrative detention policy, which allows holding Palestinians without charge or trial.

Categories
IsraelMiddle EastNewsVideos & Photo Stories
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments