Friday, May 28, 2010

Israeli Human Rights Activist: I Was Tortured

By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Palestine Chronicle

"A leading human rights activist from Israel's Palestinian Arab minority was charged yesterday with the most serious security offences on Israel’s statute book, including espionage.

Prosecutors indicted Ameer Makhoul, the head of Ittijah, an umbrella organisation for Arab human rights groups in Israel, with spying on security facilities on behalf of Hizbollah after an alleged meeting with one of its agents in Denmark in 2008.

Mr Makhoul, who had been held incommunicado by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, for much of the time since his arrest three weeks ago, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. In his first public statement, he told the court: “The Shin Bet controls the Israeli justice system.”

As a gag order was lifted on the case, his lawyers said Mr Makhoul had been tortured during his detention, including being told by interrogators that they would leave him “disabled”. The three lawyers said he had been forced to make a false confession, which they would argue was inadmissible.....

Since 2007 Azmi Bishara, the leader of the Balad party, has been in exile after he was accused of espionage while out of the country. Critics say the Shin Bet effectively silenced him without having to produce evidence.

“It has become clear over the past few years that this could happen to any of us,” he said....."

No comments: