Marking UN Day In Support of Victims of Torture -The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Press Release

Family Matters, Part Two: The Ongoing use of Family Members in GSS Interrogations

In March 2008, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel published a report entitled “Family Matters: Using Family Members to Pressure Detainees Under GSS Interrogation.” The report dealt with a common phenomenon in General Security Services (hereafter: GSS) interrogations: the use of interrogees’ family members as a means of pressure meant to put the interrogee under great distress and psychological hardship, and to extract a confession from them. There we presented a number of cases in which detainees under interrogation were led to believe that the liberty or well-being of their family members was endangered, a danger they could prevent by confessing. Different methods were used to mislead interrogees: threats against the well-being and liberty of their family members were hurled at them during interrogation; family members were brought to the detention facility under various pretenses and displayed before the interrogees as detainees; and the interrogee’s relatives were subject to arrest or ill-treatment which was subsequently brought to the attention of the interrogee. This update to the original report shows that, despite declarations by the Attorney General and rulings by the High Court of Justice, these methods continue to be employed by the GSS and are indeed exceedingly common.