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Controversy over Pending Appeal of an Imprisoned IDF Officer

April 23, 1987
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The pending appeal to the Supreme Court by an Israel Defense Force officer serving an 18-year prison sentence for treason has embroiled the government, the IDF and the internal security service, Shin Bet, in a dispute over what their position should be in the case.

The high court set May 24 as the date it will begin hearings on the appeal of former Lt. Azzat Nafsu, from the Circassian village of Kfar Kamma, who was convicted by a military tribunal in 1980 and stripped of his rank. Nafsu contends he was railroaded on false evidence and forced to confess under coercion by his Shin Bet interrogators.

A meeting Tuesday night attended by senior Justice Ministry officials, Shin Bet leaders and senior military authorities reportedly broke down as a result of sharp differences between Shin Bet which prepared the case against Nafsu, the IDF which tried him, and civilian legal officials.

IDF officers reportedly expressed reservations for the first time over the strength of the State’s case in the appeal. Shin Bet officials are said to be anxious to avoid the hearing for fear it will expose their methods of evidence gathering and obtaining confessions. Shin Bet reportedly proposed a Presidential pardon and release of Nafsu in order to close the case before it reaches the Supreme Court.

Now Shin Bet is reported to be pressing for a judicial commission of inquiry into its investigatory techniques. Such a probe would forestall full exposure of its method at a Supreme Court hearing.

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