|Posted By Ahmed Abdullah
April 19, 2008
Israel is using a new
interrogation technique against Palestinian detainees, which
mainly aims at breaking them psycologically.
One victim is 18-year-old
Gheith Nasr, who has been arrested four times by the Israeli
services over accusations of stone throwing and sabotaging
video cameras. Few weeks away from high school exams, the
main concern of a teenager is studying, but Gheith is far
behind because of the unjustified arrest.
Even though Gheith was able
to endure tough interrogation tactics by Israeli officers,
he was forced to plead guilty when the Israelis captured his
"When I saw my mother being
brought into the cell with handcuffs, I tell you, I would
have told them anything just to save her, anything," he told
The mother was caught one
day after Gheith was taken to the Qishlik police station.
Israeli officers and troops returned to his house and
searched through the family's belongings. The officers then
told the parents that if they want to see their son, they
must go to the Qishlik station.
But once the parents reached
the station, each one of them was taken to a different room.
Gheith's mother said there
were three men in the room she was locked up in. "I sat down
and one stood behind me while the other started shouting in
my face in a most aggressive and intimidating way... I was
shocked, it was the first time I had even set foot in a
police station and this man was saying horrible things about
what they were going to do to Gheith,
"Then the one behind said:
'Cuff her hands for the night' and they put handcuffs on me
and then took me along to another room, where I was
surprised to see Gheith sitting. I was only in the room for
a few seconds; we looked at each other but we were both too
shocked to say anything. Then they took me out and took off
the handcuffs", the mother said, according to the BBC.
An hour later, the mother
was taken back to a cell, where she and her husband were
given back their IDs and released.
Another "softer" tactic was
used with Gheith's father, Nasr. With no handcuffs, the
father was taken to see his son but was told by an Israeli
officer to encourage Gheith to confess.
But Nasr decided not to
follow the officer's orders.
"I sat together with my son
for about 10 minutes, asking him how he was and how they
were treating him, and saying a few things to keep his
"Then the officer came back
and Gheith was then taken away. The officer asked whether my
son was going to own up. I said: 'He has done nothing' and
the officer replied: 'You are a liar!'
Israel's domestic security
agency, the GSS or Shin Bet, claims that it doesn't use
relatives to break Palestinian detainees.
are conducted by the Shin Bet according to the 
Supreme Court ruling [limiting interrogation methods], under
the restrictions of the law and the tight supervision of the
Justice Ministry and the courts," the Shin Bet said in a
statement, according to the BBC.
But human rights group, the
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), insists
that Israeli security officers continue to use "psycological
The group published detailed
evidence of six cases similar to Gheith's.
constitutional and legal committee has taken the unusual
step of scheduling a hearing hours after the publication.
The cases published by PCATI
show that Israel's harsh interrogation tactics pushed some
Palestinian detainees to commit suicide.
One prisoner, Mahmoud Sweiti,
who is accused of belonging to Hamas' military wing,
attempted suicide twice after seeing his wife and father
dressed in prison coats.
In another case, the mother
and brother of another detainee, Said Diab, were arrested
and forced to watch him being violently interrogated by
"Presenting close family
members as suspects or under interrogation puts the real
suspect under incredible psychological pressure, which can
be as bad - if not worse - than physical torture," says
PCATI legal consultant Eliahu Abram.
"The General Security
Service may think that between beating a prisoner and
showing him his mother crying in detention, the latter is
the more non-abusive way, but it is not," he told the
Even though Abram thinks
that intelligence services might be forced to use all
possible ways to fight crime, using innocent people to
extract confessions from suspects is not acceptable.
"The prisoner feels a sense
of powerlessness and responsibility for what is happening to
their loved-one - there is no telling whether information
obtained in this way is reliable," Mr Abram said.
tactics are prohibited not only by international law but
also by Israeli law. Therefore, whatever information the
Israelis obtain through such techniques should be deemed
illegal and unreliable.