JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Israel’s High Court of Justice is hearing petitions challenging the way Israel interrogates Palestinian prisoners.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, confirmed last week that it uses methods such as sleep deprivation, loud music and putting a sack on prisoners’ heads during interrogations.
A state representative, speaking for the Shin Bet, explained Wednesday to the nine-judge panel the reasoning behind some of its interrogation methods.
The sack, the representative said, was to prevent the prisoners from seeing other detainees, the music was to prevent the detainees from speaking to each other and the handcuffs were to prevent them from assaulting the interrogators.
The representative also suggested that rather than try to establish one sweeping policy regarding interrogation methods, decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.
The representative noted the case of a “ticking bomb” — when Shin Bet officials believe that a detainee may have crucial information which could prevent a terrorist attack.
In such cases, a commission investigating interrogations has already decided that authorization can be given to exert “moderate physical pressure” during questioning.
Chief Justice Aharon Barak had convened the special panel because of the increased number of petitions submitted by Palestinians complaining of being tortured during questioning.