Released suspect in Duma case claims Shin Bet tortured him
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Released suspect in Duma case claims Shin Bet tortured him

‘I felt I was about to die,’ says teen; 2 suspects in fatal firebombing to be indicted soon; TV shows blurred footage of prime suspect

A teen suspect in the Duma terror case, who was released from custody when it was concluded he played no part in the incident, speaks to Channel 2 on December 31, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
A teen suspect in the Duma terror case, who was released from custody when it was concluded he played no part in the incident, speaks to Channel 2 on December 31, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

A teen released this week after being detained for a month as a suspect in the fatal Duma terror attack claimed in a Channel 2 interview that Shin Bet interrogators tortured him while he was in custody.

The minor, identified only by the Hebrew initial “Ayin,” reiterated charges made by the lawyers of the suspects in the July 31 murders that the internal security agency used severe interrogation techniques against the detainees.

Ayin was released earlier this week after investigators concluded there was no evidence to connect him to the murder of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank village of Duma. State prosecutors on Monday submitted a statement of intent to indict the suspect for an attack on an Arab youth two years ago, but not in the Duma case.

The main suspect in the fatal Duma firebombing attack will be indicted for murder within five days, according to a document submitted Wednesday by the state prosecutors managing the case. A second suspect is also to be indicted. One of the two is an adult, and the other is a minor. The two were allegedly directly involved in the planning and orchestration of the fatal firebombing. The detention of the main suspect was extended by Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Channel 10 on Wednesday broadcast video footage showing the main suspect alongside another Shin Bet’s target in the investigation — Meir Ettinger — praying at Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. The suspect’s face was blurred.

The main suspect in the Duma terror case, circled at left, praying at Joseph's Tomb alongside Meir Ettinger, another Jewish extremist held by the Shin Bet. (screen capture: Channel 10)
The main suspect in the Duma terror case, circled at left, praying at Joseph’s Tomb alongside Meir Ettinger, another Jewish extremist held by the Shin Bet. (screen capture: Channel 10)

The Shin Bet denies allegations of torture and Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri wrote in a statement Wednesday that “the physical and mental condition of the detainees was acceptable” and that there was “a gulf” between what was being alleged on their behalf and what they themselves had to say. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have backed the Shin Bet’s handling of the case.

The teen, Ayin, recounted that Shin Bet interrogators shouted at him, beat him, and gradually kept him from sleeping during his 29-day detention.

“They didn’t present me with any testimony or any proof, just shouted ‘confess, confess,'” he said.

“The moment you fall asleep in the interrogation — shouts and such,” he told Channel 2 in the interview broadcast Wednesday. “‘Until you confess we won’t let you sleep,'” he recounted the agents saying.

“Every time I fell asleep, they’d started to grab my chin and push it, full force. I felt immense pains in the back of my neck, I felt as if I was about to die… I didn’t understand what they wanted from me. I told them: I didn’t commit any crime,” he said.

Ayin said the Shin Bet’s denial of the use of torture was “lies, just lies.” “The reality as that there was serious violence against the detainees,” he said.

The teen said that he was afraid the interrogators would beat him until he confessed. “I said I’d stick to the truth despite the torture, despite the fact that I think most people would confess to whatever they told them to confess to if they’d undergone the torture I went through — I also considered confessing at the time.”

Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)
Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)

Riham and Saad Dawabsha and their 18-month-old baby Ali was killed in the July 31 attack on their home — 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.

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