Jerusalem – Persuading criminals to admit to wrongdoing is difficult for any police force. But as Ha’aretz details (http://bit.ly/22PsbET), the Shin Bet, Israeli Police, are going to great lengths to coerce confessions from Jewish terror suspects and almost nothing is off-limits, including staged murders.
In the course of the investigation into the Duma arson, Jewish suspect Yitzhar Klimkiewicz, 25, was arrested and taken to the Acre Prison where he was placed in a cell with two other prisoners. Several days later, a Jewish inmate in a neighboring cell ostensibly stabbed an Arab inmate.
In an online diary posted to Facebook, Klimkiewicz wrote, “I ran to the door and looked through the bars. The Arab was lying there, covered in blood, he wasn’t speaking; he was quiet. It was a real murder. It was really scary, I was in shock. They quickly started throwing water out from our cell, to try to clean the blood from the knife, so there
shouldn’t be any signs.”
Soon after the attack, Klimkiewicz was pressured by his cellmates – who had apparently provided the knife to the attacker – to share something incriminating about himself with them to ensure he wouldn’t report their involvement to the authorities. When Klimkiewicz repeatedly refused to acquiesce to their demands, his cellmates attacked him.
Klimkiewicz would only later find out the whole incident was a charade, designed to elicit a confession from him about the Duma arson. There was no dead Arab, no stabbing, no blood.
“In my cell they [the cellmates] started to get nervous; they were the ones who supposedly passed on the knife,” Klimkiewicz continued in his diary. “Until then they’d
hardly spoken to me, but now they addressed me – ‘Hey, you, come here, who are you, what are you?’ the younger one said. I said, ‘I don’t know anything, what do you want from me?’ He said, ‘Listen this is a case of abetting [murder], we could each get seven or eight years, and we’re close to being released and I have a daughter outside …’
“They started to talk to me as if I’ve got something on them, because I’m the only one who knew, and they didn’t know me. They knew the people in the second cell and were certain they wouldn’t talk, but they didn’t know me so maybe I’d screw them.”
“So they sat me down and said, ‘Who are you?’ and I told them my name. ‘Why were you arrested?’ they asked and I said, ‘I don’t know.’ ‘What do you mean, you don’t know?’ and I replied ‘I don’t know, they didn’t tell me during questioning.’ I didn’t want to say the word ‘Duma.’ And then the crazy guy in the next cell started making threatening gestures. . . .Then they took a different tack. They wanted to know if I have someone outside, some name, someone reliable, who could testify that I’m a great guy who doesn’t squeal on others. . . .Then they started to pressure, that they’d publicize in every jail that I’m a prosecution witness, an informer, a policeman – those are the worst curses in prison. That’s how it is, if you’re a prosecution witness, they’ll stab you. You’re finished.”
To appease his cellmates and stop the torment, Klimkiewicz falsely confessed to being a policeman. It was then he suspected his cellmates were part of a larger scheme. “But I had no idea to what degree, and I didn’t understand that the whole, whole, whole thing here was a production. Only afterward I understood,” he said. Klimkiewicz was eventually released and no charges were filed against him.
In a separate incident, police confiscated drugs from a prisoner’s cell in order to force a minor suspect into sharing what he knew about the torching of a Palestinian’s home and property.
B., a minor, suspected in the torching, was placed in a jail cell with older prisoners, in violation of the law that prohibits minors and adults from sharing cells. The older men made a point of saying that they had committed heinous crimes.
After police “found” drugs in his cell, the police launched an investigation and pressured B. to talk. B initially only confessed to setting fire to a car, a church, and a warehouse. When police pressed him further, even accusing him of being a police informer, B. admitted to attacking an Arab three years back. He later admitted to torching a Palestinian home in Kafr Akrabeh and the Dormition Abbey, and also slashing tires in Beit Safafa.
B.’s lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has asked the court to quash the confession, arguing it was elicited under duress. “It’s hard to remain apathetic after hearing the horrifying recording from the cell in which you hear the [plants] threatening the minor, presenting themselves as part of a crime family… and taking invalid measures that belong in a Third World country,” Ben-Gvir said.