(January 2, 2019 / JNS) A confession given by an Israeli minor in a far-reaching investigation into Jewish terrorism was thrown out by an Israeli Central District Court on the grounds that it was obtained illegally and under duress.
The unnamed minor was charged with racially motivated offenses against Arabs, including arson and damage to property. Though the youth was cleared of suspicion in the 2015 Duma terror attack, which three members of a Palestinian family were killed in a fire allegedly started by Jewish extremists, he was investigated for possible involvement in a 2013 graffiti attack at the Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem, where scrawlings “Christians are slaves” and “Christians are monkeys” were sprayed on church walls.
A confession by the teenager was thrown out after the young man’s attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir, argued that Shin Bet security services and Israeli police obtained testimony through illegal and immoral means.
According to reports, the youth was placed in a fake prison cell in Akko Prison, where policemen disguised as cell mates convicted of crimes such as murder, planted fake drugs under his mattress and prevented him from eating or sleeping in a bid to pressure him to confess.
Ben-Gvir argued that the officers crossed a red line in their investigation, and the court agreed, finding the behavior of police “unfair to say the least, as well as offensive and threatening.”
Ben-Gvir said the court’s decision showed that “Hilltop Youth [a term used for hardcore, ideologically motivated young activists in Judea and Samaria] also have basic rights.”
The Central District Prosecutor’s Office said the court’s decision would influence their methods in the future.