Court Throws Out Key Evidence, Confessions in Duma Arson Case

The scene of a house in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Shechem, where a Palestinian infant was killed in July 2015, in an arson attack. (Flash90)

A Lod court on Tuesday declared invalid much of the evidence in the case against Amiram Ben-Uliel, 22, who has been accused of burning down the home of the Dawabshe family in the Shomron village of Duma in July 2015, which led to the deaths of Sa’ed and Riham Dawabshe, and their 18-month-old baby, Ali.

The court accepted the claims of attorneys for Ben-Uliel that an admission of guilt by him had been extracted by torture by Shin Bet officials. It also threw out admissions and evidence against several minors arrested with Ben-Uliel. The court did accept evidence gathered in a re-enactment of the crime by Ben-Uliel, however.

Ben-Uliel was arrested in December 2015 on suspicion of setting the fire, in response to the ongoing attacks by Arab terrorists against Jews, especially the murder of three Israeli teens who had been by Hamas terrorists – Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19), Hy”d. The murders were a contributing factor to 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

Ben-Uliel’s attorneys, Itamar Ben-Gvir – who represented the defendant during his initial arrest, and his current attorney, Avraham Bom, have long complained that the Shin Bet extracted the confessions out of their client using torture. As the court verified the use of several of Ben-Uliel’s confessions, he will still stand trial for the deaths of the Dawabshe family members.

However, Ben-Gvir was optimistic regarding the trial. “With all due respect to critics, it is clear that the Shin Bet undertook an operation that will go down on the books in a very negative manner. Jews should not torture Jews, and the Shin Bet needs to learn this. The court should have gone all the way and dismissed all the confessions,” he added.