[Ppnews] Muhammad Salah - Rights expert testifies about Torture

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 20 11:17:49 EST 2006


<http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest/chi-0612200251dec20,1,6698488.story?coll=chi-newslocalssouthwest-hed>http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest/chi-0612200251dec20,1,6698488.story?coll=chi-newslocalssouthwest-hed 



Israeli torture of captives alleged





Rights expert testifies at Hamas-case trial of Bridgeview man

By Rudolph Bush
Tribune staff reporter

December 20, 2006

Israeli interrogators engaged in systematic 
torture of the "vast majority" of people detained 
as security threats during the 1990s, a human rights expert testified Tuesday.

Yuval Ginbar, a researcher with the Israeli human 
rights organization B'Tselem, took the stand on 
behalf of Muhammad Salah, a Bridgeview man 
accused of supporting terrorism as a member of 
the Palestinian extremist group Hamas.

Ginbar acknowledged he had no firsthand 
information about how Salah was treated when 
Israeli security agents interrogated him in 1993.

But he said that accounts from Palestinian 
detainees and Israeli agents, as well as 
documents from Israel and the U.S. State 
Department, confirmed that torture was commonly 
employed in Israeli interrogation centers.

"The Israeli [security agency's] torture system 
was a sophisticated one," Ginbar said.

It involved cutting off a detainee from contact 
with the outside world, depriving him of sleep, 
placing him in uncomfortable positions for 
extended periods of time and sensory abuse, Ginbar said.

The alleged use of torture by Israeli agents is a 
key point of contention in Salah's trial.

Prosecutors accuse him of providing funds and 
other aid to Hamas. Salah confessed to the crime 
in Israel when he was captured in 1993 with more than $100,000.

His attorneys have argued Salah confessed after 
enduring torture over 54 days in custody. The 
money was intended for humanitarian aid, they argued.

Two Israeli agents who handled Salah's 
interrogation testified earlier that he was 
treated well and provided information voluntarily.

Salah spent four years in an Israeli prison after 
he was convicted of being a leader of Hamas.

On cross-examination, Ginbar said he was never 
permitted to view an interrogation.

"I was denied firsthand knowledge. Part of the 
torture system was not to allow [non-government 
organizations] into the system," he said.

Ginbar regularly referred to a 1999 decision by 
the Israeli Supreme Court that outlawed 
interrogation methods that were legal when Salah was in custody.

Such methods included placing hoods over 
detainees' heads, handcuffing them for prolonged 
periods and playing loud music.

"It becomes torture with the accumulation of 
time. These benign sounding methods become unbearable," Ginbar said.

The trial of Salah and his co-defendant, 
Abdelhaleem Ashqar of suburban Washington, is 
scheduled to resume Wednesday with testimony from 
defense witnesses. The trial is then to break until Jan. 2.

----------

rrbush at tribune.com

Copyright © 2006, 
<http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest//>Chicago Tribune


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