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Israeli court upholds guerrilla's right to claim compensation for torture

2005-12-20 10:36:00

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Israeli court upholds guerrilla's right to claim compensation for torture
11:44:49 EST Dec 20, 2005

JERUSALEM (AP) - An Israeli court on Tuesday upheld a Lebanese guerrilla leader's right to demand compensation for torture he says he underwent in an Israeli prison.

Israel abducted Mustafa Dirani in 1994, hoping to use him as a bargaining chip for information on Ron Arad, an Israeli airman whose jet was downed over Lebanon in 1986. Israel claims Dirani's Amal militia held Arad at one point.

Dirani was held until 2004, when Israel swapped 435 Arab prisoners for a captive Israeli businessman and the remains of three soldiers captured in Lebanon.

Before his release, Dirani told a Tel Aviv court that his Israeli interrogators raped and systematically tortured him in a futile effort to get information about Arad. He demanded six million shekels ($1.3 million US) in compensation.

On Tuesday, a district court in Tel Aviv turned down a state request to throw out Dirani's claim. But in his ruling, Judge Amiram Binyamini said Dirani would not receive the money even if a court upholds his claim, because he is a resident of an enemy state.

Dirani claims interrogators kept him naked in a secret facility, alternately splashed him with hot and freezing water, shook him until he fainted, squeezed his testicles, sodomized him and sexually assaulted him with a stick.

Israel denies Dirani was ever abused and said he made up the allegations of abuse to justify giving Israel information.

Israeli and international human rights groups say Israel has routinely mistreated Arab security detainees during interrogation by depriving them of sleep, tying them up in painful positions and forcing them to wear hoods on their heads.

Charges of sexual abuse have been rare.

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