Israeli Court: British Prisoner’s Confession Obtained Under Torture

A British man today remains in Israeli custody in spite of a court ruling that he be released after a judge found that his confession was extracted under physical and psychological pressure and without access to a lawyer.

The 49-year-old dual Lebanese-British national, Faiz Mahmoud Ahmed Sherari, is being held pending an appeal by a military prosecutor.

Sherari was accused of being a courier for Hamas but was subjected to “prolonged painful shackling [and] threats” by Shin Bet in an effort to “exploit [his] weakness”, the Guardian newspaper reported.

The paper added: “The judge, Lt Col Azriel Levy, sharply criticized the military prosecution and ruled that despite the seriousness of the accusations against him, Sherari’s rights had been violated and his testimony presented to the court not been given voluntarily.”

Sherari had been threatened, painfully cuffed for a prolonged period and stopped from seeing a lawyer for three weeks from the date of his arrest. He was arrested on September 15 and finally allowed access to his legal representative on October 6.

“There’s no doubt that the defendant’s confession, which was given an hour after the end of his Shin Bet interrogation, was dramatically influenced by the method of interrogation, which also included pained and prolonged shackling, threats, and a blatant exploitation of the defendant’s demonstrated weakness,” Haaretz quoted the judge saying.

In response to the judge’s findings, Shin Bet said: “It should be emphasized that the allegations of torture during Faiz Sherari’s investigation are baseless and groundless.”

When asked to comment, a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said: “We are providing consular assistance to a British national who is being detained in Israel, and will remain in contact with local authorities.”

Born in Lebanon, Sherari has lived in the UK for the last 23 years. He was arrested during a four-day visit to the West Bank in September and accused of providing cash and mobile phones to Hamas.

(MEMO, PC)

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