In a Small Jailcell, Lonely and Freezing

The following is my English translation of Yossi Gurvitz’s latest post about the Shabak, the interrogation process, and the dying Israeli legal system. Haaretz has just published an article about the trials cited by Yossi here. (Joseph Dana)

Small Jail Cell, Lonely, and Freezing

I asked myself a couple of days ago about the working  methods of the Jewish units in the Shabak according to Haim Pearlman story. The Shabak arrested him and did not allow him to meet with a lawyer. The reason, briefly, why the Shabak did not allow him access to a lawyer was because he was between the ages of 17 and 23 when he was charged with attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem at the end of the last decade. He was responsible for killing four and injuring seven; Pearlman was suspected of having illegal weapons. Pearlman understood he was being arrested and he taped the Shabak interrogation of the Shabak and caught them trying to ask him to kill Sheikh Reid Salah and because of this all of the case details are problematic.

Recently a new development unfolded, the Shabak arrested another fellow, David Sitbon, who was suspected of breaking into private houses and military bases to steal weapons and fighting equipment for Pearlman. To increase the pressure on this suspect, the Shabak managed to refuse him from meeting a lawyer.

Pearlman, previously mentioned, was accused in a series of stabbings. Stabbing, usually occurs via with a sharp instrument- a knife is the preferred choice of nine out of ten stabbing murderers. The basic advantage of a knife for a future murder is that you can buy it easily without suspicion as long as you do not give yourself away or droll in front of the clerk. Purchasing a knife does not require registration as opposed to actual firearms. There is no black market for knifes. If Sitbon wanted knifes, he did not need to break into military bases. He could have gone to the nearest kitchen store.

So Sitbon probably was not involved in the murders. It might be that he was involved in a different accusation against Pearlman, carrying illegal weapons, which is less of a charge. This is where the question should be raised, why the hell was he prevented from access to a lawyer. Having a lawyer is a basic right which aims to protect the arrested from false admission of guilt in a crime that he did not commit; there is a desire of the police, all police, to close files quickly instead of putting in hard work to find the real criminal, but it is a requirement of the justice system to allow the accused, who are already in a bad situation, access to a lawyer.

Denial of a lawyer, which has lately become routine- see the Ma’houl and Omer said case- is rotten from the start. You may barely excuse this kind of action as ‘a immediate and clear risk’ (ED: The reason the Shabak denies them laqyers) but none of these cases fits this definition. What we see in all of these cases is a ‘coming together’ procedure which is becoming the normal right of the Shabak to investigate a person who has basically been kidnapped: the detainee is being held, isolated, in an investigation area without any assistance.There is however, a minimal legal precedent, which every now and then the court prolongs time of arrest and the time before one can access a lawyer, in order to make it seem like (the Shabka) did not “disappear” a suspect like in Chile or Argentina. Access to a lawyer, in the case of Ma’houl, occurs only after the Shabak already received a guilty plea probably under torture. This guilty plea is unrectractable  in our rotten legal system. The relatives of Pearlman already complained that he is being held in a “refrigerator”, a simple torture device which does not leave marks on the body of the investigated and was very popular in the USSR. Its survivors in USSR compared it to a slow starvation. The Shabak obviously denies it usage. The Shabak always denies. Never has an Israeli court found that the Shabak lied, and never has an Israeli court found that a detainee has been tortured.

The Shabak does not need to freeze Pearlman. Since the guy is completely in their hands, the Shabak can use the much simpler technique of preventing sleep, which the Inquisition called tormentum insomnium: it does not leave marks and there is nothing like it, after a few days to convince a detainee to sign (an admission of guilt) is easily done. Afterwards, all that is left to do (for the Shabak) is to lie to the judge and to try to cover the smile.

The Shabak told us that it prevented a lawyer for Ma’houl because he is a dangerous spy. The Shabak told us there can be no lawyer for Pearlman because he is a dangerous murderer although his actions were done in the past. Now the Shabak tells us that he prevents a lawyer for a weapons dealer and we get used to it. Slowly, the Shabak is ripping our foundational rights from the few that the hand of the detainees.

I do not know if Pearlman and Sitbon are guilty or not. It might be that they are (although the story of the Shabak is very strange); it might be that they are guilty in only a few of the accusations; it might be that the both of them are innocent. I only know one thing for sure, the (our) rights are being wiped away as we speak, in almost complete silence of the media and the blogsphere. They are not called Anat Kam and they are not coming from the heart of the media branch however, who ever keeps silent while they prevent Pearlman and Sitbon their lawyers might be dragged away to a freezing cell, loseing his right to complain when the same thing happens to him.