Joint Arab List Calls For Probe After Terror Suspect Critically Injured In Custody

Members of the Joint List hold a press conference after meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Sept. 22, 2019 (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JNS) – The Joint Arab List on Monday called on Israel’s attorney general to open an official investigation into the hospitalization of a terror suspect who was admitted to hospital in critical condition after being interrogated by Israeli security officials.

Samer Arbid, 44, is the alleged ringleader of the terrorist cell accused of killing 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb and seriously wounding her father and brother in a bombing in Samaria in August. He was arrested last month together with two other PFLP members, but released due to a lack of evidence. He was taken into custody again last Wednesday.

He was hospitalized Saturday after being interrogated by Israel’s Shin Bet security service. The circumstances and details of his condition were not publicized, except that his hospitalization was heart-related.

A security source told Israeli reporters on Saturday that after Arbid was taken in for the second time, the Shin Bet was given legal permission to employ “extraordinary measures” in its interrogation of him. Such measures can include beatings, being forced into uncomfortable positions, sleep deprivation, handcuffing and the use of extreme temperatures.

Such permission is typically given only in “ticking time bomb” situations, where security forces believe an attack is imminent.

On Monday, the Joint List sent a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, demanding that he investigate the circumstances surrounding Arbid’s hospitalization and the methods used to interrogate him.

The Justice Ministry has already launched an investigation into the incident.

“The conduct of the defense establishment, including the Shin Bet, in this case involved crossing a red line and breaking the law,” the Joint List’s letter stated, according to Hebrew-language media. “There must be a thorough examination of the circumstances of this case, and a conclusion must be reached. Measures must be taken to limit torture and to prosecute those responsible.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Monday warned that “the Zionist occupation will pay the price for its crimes against the prisoners,” and vowed the terrorist organization would “never leave them [as] trophies to the Zionist sadism,” according to Walla news.

The PFLP also issued a statement, saying on Sunday that: “We hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the lives of the Palestinian prisoner Samer Arbid and his comrades, and we assure that by endangering their lives, the occupation will open the gates of hell.”

Arbid’s lawyers have called for an international probe into the incident by the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

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