Report: Shin Bet still tortures, but lessBy Moshe Reinfeld, Ha'aretz Supreme Court Correspondent, Ha'aretz, 09/06/2000
The Shin Bet security service has developed ways of torturing suspects that bypass last year's Supreme Court ruling banning any form of torture of prisoners, according to a report published yesterday by the Public Committee Against Torture. The report also notes, however, that there has been a significant decrease in the number of reported incidents of torture.
According to the committee, this year, it registered 11 complaints compared to the 60 it received last year.
Testimonies by victims of Shin Bet torture reveal that the service has found ways of bypassing the court's ban by adopting methods that were not specifically listed by the court, including severe sleep-deprivation, beatings, making health care and legal assistance less accessible and psychological pressure.
The committee said that immediately after being informed of an instance of torture, it had filed a complaint with the State Prosecutor's Office, adding that it has yet to receive a response from the government office, even though some of its complaints were lodged more than a year ago.
The drop in the number of complaints of torture suggests that it is possible to continue providing security for Israel's citizens without resorting to torture, the committee said.
Highlighting this point, the committee said that Nabil Oukal and Sa'ad Hindawi, two Palestinians arrested and interrogated in connection with plans to commit acts of terrorism in Israel, said that although their captivity was long and tiring, they were not tortured by the Shin Bet.
In response, a spokesman of the Justice Ministry said that a
special office deals with complaints of torture by the Shin Bet
and that these complaints are being handled expediently.