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Israel’s Attorney General Signals Dissatisfaction With Shabak’s Abusisi Interrogation – OpEd


Yossi Melman writes in Haaretz that Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein appears dissatisfied with the results of the Shabak interrogation of Dirar Abusisi.  The reporter notes that Weinstein has told the security services to procure further evidence on eight subjects.  Given my experience following such security matters, something smells a little off about the government’s case.  It’s unusual in the Israeli legal system for a security suspect to be held longer than 30 days without filing charges.  They’ve had Abusisis for 34 days.  After that amount of time they still have eight areas in which the top government lawyer says he needs better evidence to prosecute.  What’s wrong with this picture?  The attorney general has also told Shabak that there is a wide gap between the claims levelled against the kidnapped Gaza engineer and the evidence he’s seen.  This does not sound like a happy prosecutor.

We’re talking about some of the best goons in the business here, in the Shabak.  They might be able to extract blood from a turnip or an Arab.  Yet either Dirar isn’t breaking as they anticipated or they simply have nothing against him and can’t build a credible case with what they’ve got.

To indicate just how sensitive the Shabak is to the publicity surrounding this case (and how important it is for us to do what we’re doing), Melman indicates Abusisi was introduced to the courtroom via a side entrance so the scores of journalists and photographers mingling about could not photograph him.


The Haaretz reporter also notes that for the first time the Ukrainian intelligence services have invited Veronika Abusisi to speak with them about her husband’s kidnapping.  Until now, they’ve been extremely reluctant to offer her any help whatsoever.  This would indicate that Ukraine is feeling a certain amount of pressure over the incident.

I note that Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe and as such is bound by the following resolution which attacked the underlying premises of the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program.  If you change “United States of America” to “Israel” and “some Council of Europe member states” to “Ukraine,” then Abusisi’s predicament is just as relevant to this document:

The Assembly condemns the systematic exclusion of all forms of judicial protection and regrets that, by depriving hundreds of suspects of their basic rights, including the right to a fair trial, the United States has done a disservice to the cause of justice and has tarnished its own hard-won reputation as a beacon of the defence of civil liberties and human rights.

Some Council of Europe member states have knowingly colluded with the United States to carry out such unlawful operations; others have tolerated them or simply turned a blind eye. They have also gone to great lengths to ensure that such operations remained secret and protected from effective national or international scrutiny.

This collusion with the United States of America by some Council of Europe member states has taken several different forms. Having carried out a legal and factual analysis on a range of cases of alleged secret detentions and unlawful transfers, the Assembly has identified instances in which Council of Europe member states have acted in one or several of the following ways, wilfully or at least recklessly in violation of their international human rights obligations…

Secretly detaining a person on European territory for an indefinite period of time, whilst denying that person’s basic human rights and failing to ensure procedural legal guarantees such as habeas corpus;

Capturing and handing a person over to the United States whilst knowing that such a person would be unlawfully transferred into a US-administered detention facility;

Permitting the unlawful transportation of detainees on civilian aircraft carrying out rendition operations, travelling through European airspace or across European territory;

…The Assembly highlights the widespread breach of the positive obligation of all Council of Europe member states to investigate such allegations in a full and thorough manner.

The Assembly calls upon the member states of the Council of Europe to:

Ensure that unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees will not be permitted and take effective measures to prevent renditions and rendition flights through member states’ territory and airspace;

Ensure that no one is arbitrarily detained, secretly or otherwise, on a member state’s territory or any territory within the member states’ effective control;

…Ensure that all victims of rendition or secret detention have access to an effective remedy and obtain prompt and adequate reparation, including restitution, rehabilitation and fair and adequate financial compensation.

Is anyone home there, Ukraine?  You expect to host the Euro Cup next year and you can’t even abide by the basic human rights provisions of the Council of Europe.  As I wrote earlier, the nation is not yet ready for the prime time of European democracy.  Everything appears for sale there including justice.  I wonder what’s the price for a Gaza civil engineer?  Maybe a free trade agreement?  A few advanced Elbit weapons systems?

This article first appeared at Tikun Olam

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Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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