Sources: Indictments in Duma Case Ready to Be Handed Down

YERUSHALAYIM -
Naftali Bennett (Flash90)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who was placed under tightened security. (Flash90)

Sources in the Justice Ministry said that they expect several indictments to be issued this week against suspects in the Duma arson case. The suspects are already in custody, held under administrative detention laws, and have been subjected to rough questioning sessions by Shin Bet interrogators, according to friends and family members.

Shin Bet sources said that with the issuance of the indictments, they believe that the public “will understand the need for the intensive investigation that has been conducted against the suspects.” The sources said that there were currently six people in custody, but not all of them were connected to the Duma attack.

The Shin Bet has been under intense criticism in recent days, as rumors of strong-armed interrogation of the suspects by its investigators – likened by some to “torture” – have leaked out. The sources said that they intend to present evidence this week that will give “clear indications that these suspects planned and executed a heinous crime” against the Dawabshe family.

Last summer in the Arab village of Duma, two houses went up in flames after being firebombed by masked attackers, whom the Shin Bet believes to be Jews. In one house, an 18-month-old baby was burned to death, and his parents also eventually died of their injuries. Since then, the Shin Bet has been looking for suspects in the case, concentrating on its theory that the arson was carried out by Jewish radicals, although no evidence for this has yet been presented.

At least one detainee arrested several weeks ago in connection with the arson has confessed to being involved in the crime – but according to his attorney, right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, that confession is inadmissible, because it was obtained “under duress. “I have met many people in prison over the years, but the vision I saw when I met with my client after 21 days in custody was shocking,” Ben-Gvir said last Tuesday. “He was broken physically and spiritually, and he needs mental help. The Shabak (Shin Bet) interrogators indeed ‘broke’ him, in all senses of the term.”

Meanwhile, a weekend report said that Education Minister Naftali Bennett was being provided with extra protection, after threats against his life appeared on social media in recent days. Last week, Bennett decried the Duma arson, and sharply criticized what he called “the tendency to violence and anarchy among a small minority” of youth from settlements in Yehudah and Shomron. “We must trust the Shabak,” he said in a speech last week. “If we don’t, another Duma could result. Terror is terror. We have a few dozen people whose goal is not murder, but to delegitimize the state of Israel. They see their mission as setting off the final war, milchemses Gog U’Magog.