Ameer Makhoul. Undergoing torture?
Issam Makhoul (R) with Sheikh Raed Salah (Archives)
Photo: Ido Erez

Makhoul's family: Shin Bet should be indicted

Day before prosecution expected to charge Arab-Israeli figure with aggravated espionage, aiding the enemy, Ameer Makhoul's family demands accusations be dropped, claims detainee undergoing systematic torture at hands of Shin Bet

A day before an indictment is slated to be filed against Ameer Makhoul, the Israeli Arab suspected of espionage and contact with a Hezbollah agent, his family on Wednesday published a statement titled: "We accuse," in which they demanded the proceedings against him be dropped.


On Tuesday, the prosecution filed a notice in which it announced its plans to charge the author of aggravated espionage, conspiracy, aiding an enemy at a time of war and contact with a foreign agent.


The Shin Bet is slated to clear the details of the affair for publication on Thursday.


Makhoul's relatives claimed that the indictment should be directed at the Shin Bet and the Israeli establishment, who they say "trample democratic liberties and human rights by employing torture and illegitimate interrogation methods."


The statement was signed by Makhoul's wife Janan Abdu and his brother, former Knesset Member Issam Makhoul, as well as other members of his family.


According to his family, Makhoul, who serves as director of the Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations) – an umbrella group for Arab NGOs, has been subjected to severe torture since his arrest.


"We are very worried about the fact that Ameer is suffering sharp pains and a deterioration in his vision, which led him to ask for more powerful glasses," the statement said.

Janan Makhoul protesting for husband's release (Photo: Ido Erez)


"The question is, how is such a sharp deterioration taking place in such a short detention period? Why? What are the causes that led to this change and the pains from which Ameer is suffering?"


Makhoul's family reiterated the claim that he was being interrogated for hours on end, while bound to a chair in a position that rendered him unable to move. They also claimed he was deprived of the right to sleep, food and water.


"We urge the international and local community to continue to pressure the Israeli government and the justice system and force it to open an independent investigation against the Shin Bet detectives, publish a detailed report about the investigation, and prosecute those behind the systematic torture that he has suffered and have them punished."


The family added, "Any indictment based on information collected by the Shin Bet using torture should be declared null and illegitimate."


The statement further demands that the Israeli establishment immediately withdraw the ongoing trial, since it is based on an investigation during which Makhoul was deprived of his right to defend himself.


"In light of the fact that Ameer chose not to be affiliated with any specific party and act independently, it is clear that the target of this offensive is the Arab Palestinian society and its leadership, and is an attempt to trample their liberties and their rights.


"Therefore, defending Ameer's liberties as a prisoner is not a private matter, but is a general national and democratic affair."


In addition to the indictment against Makhoul, the Northern District Prosecution is slated to file an indictment with the Nazareth District Court against Dr. Omar Said, a senior Balad party member who was arrested along with Makhoul. He is expected to be charged with transferring information to an enemy and contact with a foreign agent.


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.10, 23:16
 new comment
This will delete your current comment