JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli court threw out the confessions of a Jewish right-wing extremist accused of crimes, including vandalizing an important Jerusalem church, after determining that they were given under extreme duress.
The suspect’s name is under a gag order since he was a minor at the time of his arrest.
He confessed to being a member of a Jewish terrorist organization, to vandalizing the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem and to arsoning cars in a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank.
The confessions were extracted in an elaborate ruse where Israel Security Agency officers and Israel Police Officers pretended to be fellow inmates with the youth in a mock prison, where they constantly threatened him.
The Central District Court judge ruled that while the suspect is charged with serious crimes, the court has to “balance public security with preservation of its dignity.” The court has barred publication of the full case.
In June, an Israeli court ruled invalid confessions from a Jewish-Israeli minor in the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian family’s home in the West Bank village of Duma that left three dead, saying they were acquired due to physical pressure exerted by authorities.