Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
After outgoing Justice Minister Prof. Yaakov Ne'eman discussed his political activity during the 18th Knesset, members of Knesset urged him to address publications of the alleged suicide of an Australian citizen in an Israeli prison.
United Arab List-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi told Ne'eman: "It has been published that an Australian prisoner has committed suicide in an Israeli prison. He was apparently admitted to the prison under a false identity."
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"Do you have any information, sir, pertaining to this incident? Can you confirm the fact that an Australian citizen has committed suicide in prison under a false identity?" Tibi asked the minister.
Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On also inquired Ne'eman on the matter, asking: "Can it be that for the sake of security issues, this country approves covert arrests?"
According to Gal-On "When I divulged the goings-on at the 1391 interrogation facility, the High Court of Justice determined that people could not be secretly held under arrest, and that it would never happen again in the State of Israel.
"Today we hear that in a country that presumes to be a democracy, journalists are cooperating with the government without the knowledge of the High Court, and that anonymous prisoners are committing suicide and no one knows who they are.
"How does that comply with democracy and the rule of the law?"
Gal-On added: "I would like to hear your stance on the fact that journalists voluntarily censor information at the government's request. Do you find it democratic that the Prime Minister's Office… prevents the publication of an incident that could cause embarrassment to the State of Israel?"
MK Dov Khenin also addressed the issue at the Knesset, and asked the outgoing justice minister: "Do Israeli prisons hold people whose incarceration is secret? What are the legal and parliamentary mechanisms to supervise such imprisonments and hushing?"
According to Ne'eman, "The issue is not within the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry and I don’t have any answers on the matter."
Ne'eman added that questions on the incident must be referred to the public security minister, who is in charge of the Israeli prison system.
The outgoing justice minister nonetheless added "In case the claims are true, the issue must be looked into."
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