Sources tell Haaretz detainees in Duma killings were subjected to severe techniques after probe hit dead end; PM was only notified after the fact

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. (Dudi Vaknin/Pool)
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015. (Dudi Vaknin/Pool)


Sources close to the probe of a fatal firebombing of a Palestinian home in July have claimed Jewish suspects in the case were tortured under the express authorization of Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, Haaretz reported Thursday.

The unnamed sources alleged that Weinstein had authorized the use of severe interrogation techniques against the detainees several weeks ago, after officials in the Shin Bet internal security service informed him that the investigation was at a dead end.

The report further stated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not informed of this decision in advance, and was only notified about the use of extreme measures after the fact.

Earlier this week, a teen released after being detained for a month as a suspect in the attack claimed in a Channel 2 interview that Shin Bet interrogators tortured him while he was in custody. Lawyers of the suspects in the murders have made similar claims.

The Shin Bet and the government have denied the torture allegations, although the Shin Bet has acknowledged “manhandling” the suspects, having classified them as “ticking bombs” who may have information on future planned attacks.

In response to the Haaretz report, the Justice Ministry issued a statement which said “decisions on the methods of interrogation were made by the head of the Shin Bet…with the oversight of the most senior officials in the Justice Ministry, including the attorney-general.”

The ministry would not give details on the methods employed, but noted that the deputy to the attorney-general visited the suspects in custody and “deemed their physical and mental condition to be sound.” He also found “significant differences” between the detainees’ description of their ordeal and “some of what has been claimed publicly in their names.”

The ministry added that any claims of mistreatment by authorities would be addressed through legal channels.

A suspect in the attack was freed Thursday to house arrest for 10 days by the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court. No information about the suspect or his alleged connection to the attack was immediately released.

Riham and Saad Dawabsha and their 18-month-old baby Ali were killed by the July 31 attack on their home in Duma in the West Bank — Ali in the blaze started by the firebomb and his parents in the following days. The sole surviving member of the family, five-year-old Ahmed, is being treated for severe burns in an Israeli hospital.

The Shin Bet domestic security service has arrested dozens of far-right activists in connection to the attack, but so far no indictments have been filed.

The main suspect in the attack will be indicted for murder within five days, according to a document submitted Wednesday by the state prosecutors managing the case.

According to the document, which was seen by Haaretz, the key Jewish suspect will be charged with murder, while a second detainee will be indicted on as-yet unspecified charges. The report indicated that the second suspect will also be indicted for the July attack.

The prosecutors said Wednesday the indictments would be filed at the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court. The two were allegedly directly involved in the planning and orchestration of the fatal firebombing.

The detention of the main suspect was extended by the court on Wednesday. One of the two suspects is an adult, and the other is a minor.

As reported by The Times of Israel