“They told me that if I confessed to everything they wanted, they’d release my wife, that she was being held in a cell because of me,” “the interrogator told me that my father had been arrested (later I discovered he had lied), and threatened to arrest my grandmother if I didn’t confess” ― These and similar testimonies from ISA interrogees attest to the existence of an undeniably troubling practice: the use of interrogees’ family members to break their will during interrogation.
This report describes the cases of six interrogees detained on security violations whose family members were used against them during interrogation. In some cases this involved the humiliating exploitation of an innocent family member to cause the interrogee psychological suffering. In more extreme cases, interrogees are subjected to torture in the form of cruel emotional manipulation alongside the degrading treatment of their innocent family member.
The cases surveyed in the report all took place in 2007 and early 2008. Following an HCJ petition filed in the case of Mahmoud Sweti, who attempted suicide after being led to believe that his family members had been arrested, the Knesset and the Attorney General forbided the use of familiy members in interrogations.