Torture & abuse under interrogation

“Special” interrogation methods

Published: 
1 Jan 2011

The report published by B'Tselem and HaMoked in May 2007 indicates that, in a small percentage of cases, Shabak agents use “special” interrogation means, most of which entail the use of direct physical violence. The ISA's director and the State Attorney's Office approve their use in “ticking bomb” cases. Based on the statements of the sample group, there are seven methods in this category.

The “banana” position – bending the back of the interrogee in an arch while he is seated on a backless chair.
The “banana” position - bending the back of the interrogee in an arch while he is
seated on a backless chair.

  1. Sleep deprivation

    This method includes preventing the detainee from sleeping for a whole day, by means of “intensive interrogation,” with the detainee sitting in the shabach position. Some of the sample group reported that the interrogators shouted into their ears to prevent them from sleeping. In most cases, sleep deprivation is used only during the first days of the interrogation.

  2. Beatings

    This includes “dry” beatings, meaning slaps, punches, and kicks to the body. Most of the sample group noted that they were beaten only once during interrogation, generally in the first or second interrogation.

  3. Painful cuffing

    The agents tighten the cuffs as much as possible, causing intense pain to the wrists. Some of the interrogees stated that in one interrogation session, the interrogators pushed the cuffs toward the joint, causing a stoppage of blood flow to the palms of the hands for a few minutes.

  4.  Sudden pulling of the body

     The interrogator grabs the detainee suddenly by the shirt or by the shoulder and yanks him, usually forward, once. The interrogator repeats this action a number of times during the interrogation. The detainee's hands are cuffed behind him, connected to a loop on the seat of the chair, so the sudden pulling causes intense pain in the joints of the interrogee's hands and arms
    .
  5. Sudden twisting of the head

    The interrogator grabs the interrogee's chin and twists the head sharply to one side. The interrogator may also, or in the alternative, push the detainee's head backwards by a blow with a fist to the detainee's chin.

  6. The “frog” crouch

    The interrogators force the interrogee to crouch on his toes non-stop for a few minutes, his hands cuffed behind him. When in the crouch, they push or strike him until he loses his balance and falls forward or backward.

  7. Bending the back (the “banana” position)

    The interrogators turn the chair so that the interrogee sits with the backrest to the side, and cuff his hands in front of him, then push him backwards, so that his back rests at a forty-five degree angle. The moment he cannot maintain this angle, he falls backward, his body forming an arch.

From time to time, B'Tselem receives testimonies of Palestinian detainees who underwent ill-treatment and torture by Israeli police officers. Some of these cases involved detainees who were suspected of terrorist activity, and some involved Palestinians who were suspected of entering Israel without a permit.