Friday, December 10, 1999
Justice Ministry panel split on legalizing Shin Bet 'torture'By Gideon Alon, Ha'aretz Knesset Correspondent
The Sukkar-Mazoz Committee, which was set up to look into a possible legal framework allowing the Shin Bet to continue using "special" interrogation techniques that include physical torture, has failed to come up with any unanimous recommendations.
The committee, established after the High Court of Justice's landmark ruling on September 6 banning the use of torture, presented its 70-page report on Wednesday to Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein. He will pass it on to Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the start of next week.
Headed by Deputy State Prosecutor Rachel Sukkar, Deputy Attorney General Meni Mazoz, chief military prosecutor Einat Ron and two Shin Bet agents, the committee came up with three different suggestions:
- The proposal advocated by Shin Bet representatives calls for the government to introduce special legislation that would allow Shin Bet agents to use "special means" when the agency is convinced the detainee holds information likely to prevent a clear and present danger posed to the state.
- The proposal supported by Attorney General Rubinstein, calling for a law allowing the security service to use certain methods only in special and exceptional cases and following strict legal guidelines. Rubinstein believes this course is "not excessive, not permissive and not violent" and is appropriate to "the reality in which we live."
- The proposal supported by Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, which opposes any legislation legitimizing the use of physical torture in interrogations.
A senior government source said that a bitter battle is expected when the report is presented to the government.
(c) copyright 1999 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved