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'Prisoner X'

Ben Zygier's grave Photo: Reuters
Ben Zygier's grave Photo: Reuters
 
 

Australian AG: No need for ASIO probe in Zygier case

Canberra's Attorney General Mark Dreyfus rules out need for Australia to conduct internal investigation in ASIO's conduct in 'Prisoner X' affair

News agencies
Published: 02.18.13, 08:15 / Israel News

Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has ruled out the need for an internal inquiry into the manner in which the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) handled the Ben Zygier affair.

 

Dreyfus was quoted by several Australian news outlets as saying that he saw "no need for a review," and that he remained confident the Foreign Office would get to the bottom of what he described as a "family tragedy."

 

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On Sunday, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr ordered an independent inquest by the Foreign Office into the death of the man who has come to be known as "Prisoner X."

 

Dreyfus' comments followed reports in Australian media quoting unnamed intelligence sources who claimed that Zygier, who committed suicide in 2010 while in a maximum security Israeli prison, was under ASIO surveillance prior to his arrest by Israeli authorities.  

 

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"I haven't seen any need either for such a review to take place within the Attorney General’s Department," Dreyfus insisted.

 

Meanwhile, calls in Israel to probe the case have grown louder. On Sunday night, the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's subcommittee on intelligence was ordered to launch an official inquiry into the case.

 

"The intelligence subcommittee decided to hold an intensive inquiry into all aspects of the affair of the prisoner found dead in his cell," committee spokesman Asaf Doron said in a statement.

 

Jerusalem's Justice Ministry is said to be mulling whether to release further details from the court inquest into the circumstances of Zygier’s death, which was ruled a suicide.

 

Even if it is released, some aspects are likely to be withheld for security reasons.

 

AFP contributed to this report

 

 

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