A report on Wednesday in a New York-based Jewish newspaper said that the mother of an American-Israeli suspect being held in connection with the deadly arson attack in Duma in July met with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked last week.
The Forward reported that the meeting took place after complaints by the suspect, whose name is barred from publication in Israel under a gag order on the case, that he had been tortured by the Shin Bet security service.
The suspect’s lawyer, Adi Kedar from the Honenu organization, which mainly handles cases of Israelis accused of extremist crimes, was also present at the meeting, the report said.
The past week has seen right-wing activists and a lawyer for another one of the suspects in the investigation alleging that the Shin Bet used torture and abuse against those being held.
The American-Israeli suspect named by the Forward spoke about his alleged maltreatment in court on Monday, saying that investigators were falsely accusing him.
“They are violently questioning me about something I can’t help them with because I don’t know,” the suspect was quoted as saying in a Haaretz report which did not name him. “They are taking me apart, bending my whole back, laughing and looking at me with contempt… This is the worst injustice the State of Israel can do to a person.”
Government representatives have denied the accusations against the Shin Bet, saying that they have no basis in reality, although they have admitted that the detainees were denied sleep as well as access to their attorneys.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the claims Monday, saying that all the Shin Bet investigations were being conducted “in accordance with the law.”
On Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the religious Zionist Jewish Home party, called the critics “hypocrites” who are opposing the use on Jewish terror suspects of methods which would be standard when used against Palestinian terrorism.
The Shin Bet itself released a statement Thursday calling the allegations “deceitful” and “entirely disconnected from reality.”
Shaked, who did not respond to the report of her meeting with the suspect’s mother, spoke out against the allegations of abuse, saying that the criticism was unfounded.
“The Shin Bet has acted within the framework of the law, accompanied by court orders,” Shaked said. “Some of the stories [of unnecessary force] spread in recent days have no connection to reality.”