Mossad agent Zygier’s family said seeking $1.5 million
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Mossad agent Zygier’s family said seeking $1.5 million

Australian spy’s next of kin demanding compensation, saying authorities knew he intended to take his own life

Ben Zygier. (Screenshot ABC TV via Youtube)
Ben Zygier. (Screenshot ABC TV via Youtube)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ben Zygier, the Australian-Israeli Mossad agent, hid from prison guards his intent to commit suicide, Israel’s Prosecutor’s Office said.

Information from classified transcripts in the case of Zygier, or Prisoner X as he was known at the time of his suicide by hanging in an Israeli prison in December 2010, was published Tuesday in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The information was published as Zygier’s family is in ongoing talks with Israel over a financial settlement. The amount under discussion is not known, but it is estimated to be up to $1.5 million, according to the newspaper.

The family argues that the Mossad and Prisons Service knew that Zygier was planning to take his life.

Financial settlement talks with attorneys for the Zygier family are aimed at preventing a civil suit against the Prison Service, according to Haaretz.

Zygier, a Melbourne native, was arrested in January 2010 by Israel’s Shin Bet secret service and jailed in secrecy under the name Prisoner X until he took his life 10 months later. The case was shrouded in secrecy until the Australian Broadcasting Corp. exposed Zygier’s identity in February.

A prosecutor’s report released in April found that there was evidence that Zygier died after committing suicide as a result of failures by the Israel Prison Service, but that there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the service or any of its personnel.

The case has not been closed, which means prison officials could still be charged with negligence in Zygier’s death at a later date.

According to the report, prepared by Judge Daphna Blatman Kedrai, president of the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, on the day of his suicide, Zygier received a visit from his wife and received “bad news” that she was leaving him, according to Haaretz.

The report also said that Zygier attempted suicide twice during his nine months in prison, saw three psychiatrists and met with social workers 57 times.

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