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Ayalon Prison where Zygier was held Photo: AFP
Ayalon Prison where Zygier was held Photo: AFP
 
 

Lawmakers demand answers after second 'prisoner x' exposed

MK Gal-On accuses Minister Aharonovitch of giving 'false report' when he claimed 'no hidden prisoners in Israel'; MK Regev to convene Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee, MK Shai demands State comptroller probe matter

Moran Azulay
Published: 07.09.13, 12:50 / Israel News

The government came under fire from lawmakers Tuesday following reports that another prisoner is held under similar conditions as "Prisoner X," an affair which exploded in February 2012.

 

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch gave a "false report" before the Knesset plenum when he said that "there are no hidden prisoners in the State of Israel," Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On claimed.

 

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The exposure of the "Prisoner X" affair was advanced by Knesset members who used their parliamentary immunity to pierce the shroud of censorship before the Knesset plenum.

 

An official within the Public Security Ministry said in response: "The minister's statement should be read in full. From it, it can be understood that no hidden prisoners exist when there's judicial supervision."

 

At the time, Aharonovitch responded to the enquiring MKs before the plenum and claimed that "There are no hidden prisoners in the State of Israel. In Israel there's ample supervision and safeguarding, observance of rules and regulations, and yes, also a great concern for Israel's security, a concern which occasionally warrants great secrecy."

 

The minister listed the steps taken to handle the affair – including the appointment of an investigative judge who collected the material which revealed the new details on Tuesday.

 

The newly released investigation materials show that another prisoner is held under very similar conditions to those in Zygier's case.

 

"The investigation materials include specific procedures applied in the cases of Section 15's former (Yigal Amir) and that of another prisoner held in Section 13," Zygier's attorney said. Section 13 is a similar wing to Section 15, according to the attorney.

 

A terrifying thought

In light of Tuesday's reports, chairwoman of the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee, MK Miri Regev (Likud), announced that she will summon members of the defense establishment and the Israeli Prison Service for a follow-up on how the lessons from the "Prisoner X" affair were implemented.

 

"We should all learn, especially defense elements, from the 'Prisoner X' affair, about the supervision of these sorts of prisoners – security prisoners – especially when it's an Israeli citizen," Regev said.

 

"As a former IDF chief censor, I can say that sometimes the attempt to hide can harm Israel's image and the management of the prison according to international standards."

 

Regev stressed that "the Prisoner X affair was a very clear warning sign."

 

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) claimed that "the news that another prisoner is held under the same conditions as 'Prisoner X' is further proof of the need for a comprehensive probe by the State comptroller.

 

"The Prisoner X affair raised many unanswered, painful question marks. The thought that more prisoners are held under these conditions is terrifying and chilling. Only the State comptroller has the tools to investigate this," MK Shai said.  

 

 

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