RAMALLAH, August 8 (JMCC) - A controversial figure accused of torturing an Arab detainee, has been appointed as the new adviser on Arab affairs by Jerusalem’s police. The news appointment has drawn widespread condemnation from Israeli-Palestinian legislators and human-rights groups.
The position of Doron Zehavi, a former interrogator for the Israeli military, is considered among the most sensitive on the Jerusalem police force because he will oversee the police’s often tense relationship with the city’s Palestinian residents.Read
The appointment has already attracted criticism because Mr Zehavi gained notoriety after a Lebanese militia leader who had been captured by Israel accused him in 2004 of systematic torture and sexual abuse. Furthermore, he has been charged by Israel’s biggest civil-rights group with threatening to take action against Palestinian activists protesting against the expansion of Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
Mr Zehavi gained wide media attention in 2004, when Mustafa Dirani, a Lebanese militia leader kidnapped by Israel in 1994 and released in a large-scale prisoner swap with Hizbollah a decade later, filed a lawsuit seeking 6 million shekels (Dh5.8m) in damages for his alleged abuse by military interrogators.
Mr Dirani had told a Tel Aviv court that the Shin Bet security services had kept him naked in an interrogation facility for a month. There six interrogators – including Mr Zehavi, whom he called “George” – questioned him around the clock about an Israeli airman who had gone missing since ejecting from his plane in Lebanon in 1986. Mr Dirani had identified “George” from a photograph he was shown and said he had been “particularly sadistic” towards the captive.
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