Make your own free website on
Friday, December 10, 1999

Justice Ministry panel split on legalizing Shin Bet 'torture'
By Gideon Alon, Ha'aretz Knesset Correspondent

The Sukkar-Mazoz Committee, which was set up
to look into a possible legal framework allowing
the Shin Bet to continue using "special"
interrogation techniques that include physical
torture, has failed to come up with any
unanimous recommendations.

The committee, established after the High Court
of Justice's landmark ruling on September 6
banning the use of torture, presented its 70-page
report on Wednesday to Attorney General
Elyakim Rubinstein. He will pass it on to Prime
Minister Ehud Barak at the start of next week.

Headed by Deputy State Prosecutor Rachel
Sukkar, Deputy Attorney General Meni Mazoz,
chief military prosecutor Einat Ron and two Shin
Bet agents, the committee came up with three
different suggestions:

l The proposal advocated by Shin Bet
representatives calls for the government to
introduce special legislation that would allow
Shin Bet agents to use "special means" when the
agency is convinced the detainee holds
information likely to prevent a clear and present
danger posed to the state.

l The proposal supported by Attorney General
Rubinstein, calling for a law allowing the
security service to use certain methods only in
special and exceptional cases and following strict
legal guidelines. Rubinstein believes this course
is "not excessive, not permissive and not violent"
and is appropriate to "the reality in which we

l The proposal supported by Justice Minister
Yossi Beilin, which opposes any legislation
legitimizing the use of physical torture in

A senior government source said that a bitter
battle is expected when the report is presented to
the government.