Photo: AFP
Ayalon Prison
Photo: AFP
Ben Zygier

Another 'prisoner x' held in Ayalon Prison

Ben Zygier inquest reveals another prisoner being held in similar conditions. Investigation materials expose failures that led to former Mossad agent's suicide

Another "prisoner x" is being held in Israel, it has been cleared for publication by the Israel Military Censor.


Materials from the inquest into the death of Ben Zygier suggest that a prisoner is currently being held under similar conditions, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.


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"The investigation materials include specific procedures applied in the cases of Section 15's former inhabitant (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.


Censors also authorized the publication of other details from the investigation.


The probe suggests that a security camera installed in Zygier's cell had been out of service on December 15, 2010 – the day the prisoner killed himself. The camera had been positioned to film footage from near the toilet – where Zygier had taken his life.


The camera did not transmit footage to the control room, but only to the supervisor's office. This room had not been manned at the time due to a personnel shortage.


"There were constant complaints about it," one prison guard said during his interrogation. Other witnesses said they had reported the malfunction to their supervisors months before Zygier's suicide. But the camera was not fixed.


C., the prison's tech officer testified he had not been aware of the malfunction. Had he known, he would have solved it "that very day," he said. B., the control room technician said he only learned of the fault a day after Zygier's suicide.


M., a prison guard who was questioned under caution, said he had left the supervisor's room at 5:52 pm and went into the control room. There, he had to monitor several cameras at the same time, in addition to those in Section 15.


No one noticed

But this was not the only failure. The control room was manned by only four guards instead of five, and at times only three officers were present.


According to the investigation, one of the guards was absent between the hours 6 pm and 7:40 pm. These were the "critical" hours, Zygier's lawyers claim, pointing to the fact that the prisoner had entered the bathroom for the last time at 6:45 pm. By 8:19 pm, he was found dead in his cell.


It was also revealed that M., the guard that was personally tasked with monitoring Zygier's movements, testified that he was well into his second consecutive shift "which he had asked for personal considerations" at the time of Zygier's suicide.


Footage from one of the cameras shows that Zygier had been fiddling with an object for about 20 minutes. He was later seen being still for a relatively long amount of time. The footage also shows Zygier dying after hanging himself with a sheet. This was never observed by the guards on the day itself.


"Had the inspector's room been manned at the time of the event and before it, and had the cameras been in order, I would surely have noticed Zygier's preparations for his suicide and thus prevented it," officer M. said in his testimony.



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פרסום ראשון: 07.09.13, 09:21
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