Second ‘Prisoner X’ confined to an Israeli jail detected


Internal Affairs Committee to discuss another anonymous prisoner that was being held for offenses that were much more “sensationalist and incredible”.




A second anonymous security prisoner was held secretly at Ayalon Prison at the same time that former Mossad employee Ben Zygier took his own life at the facility’s high security cell 15, according to court documents cleared for publication on Tuesday.

The Ayalon Prison in Ramle

The Ayalon Prison in Ramle – Photo: Reuters

In the protocol of an October 2011 hearing in the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court examining the death of Zygier – nicknamed “Prisoner X” by the Israeli media – it reads “it is worth nothing that there are specific, detailed guidelines that were used for the previous resident of bloc 15 (Yigal Amir) and for a separate prisoner jailed in bloc 13 (a security cell – that prisoner’s attributes more closely resemble those of the one in cell 15).”

No further details about the man’s identity or his alleged crimes were released for publication on Tuesday.

Avigdor Feldman, who was Ben Zygier’s lawyer confirmed Tuesday the existence of the other undisclosed prisoner at Ayalon Prison. Feldman was speaking to the 103 FM radio station.

Feldman said that the second undisclosed prisoner was being held for offenses that were much more “sensationalist and incredible” than those allegations that Ben Zygier was facing.

The court documents also revealed that the camera pointing towards the cell’s bathroom was not functioning on the day of Zygier’s death.

Other revelations in the documents are similar to ones cleared by the court in April, which detailed the testimony from Israel Prison Service officials who were in charge of guarding Zygier up until he hung himself from the bathroom of his cell on December 15th, 2010.

The documents showed that IPS psychiatrists ruled that Zygier was a prisoner in need of supervision level B, requiring that someone check up on him every 30 minutes, and that during his time in Ayalon he was visited by a social worker 57 times.

In the document, the officers interviewed stated that they were short on staff, with only four people instead of the usual five manning the operations room, which surveys footage from 330 cameras. The report states that “M.A.,” an officer who was in charge of the control room left the room shortly before Zygier committed suicide, and was in the operations room when it happened. The document says M.A. left his log notebook back in the control room and did not fill it in during the time he was absent.

The document adds that while the operations room did include footage from the cameras in Zygier’s room, camera 116, which covered the center of his cell and part of his bathroom, was not connected to the screens in the operations room – a fact that the officers on duty beforehand had known.

In addition, it was revealed that the infrared camera meant to turn on when the cell’s lights were shut off provided “zero visibility” and that at least one other camera in the cell was not working and that employees had repeatedly asked their supervisors to repair the cameras, a request that was ignored. The documents released Tuesday state that the cameras in cell 13 had been repaired recently however.

The cameras in Zygier’s cell did not cover the area of the cell bathroom, according to IPS privacy regulations. The cell had previously housed Yigal Amir, the assassin of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The documents released in April also read that Zygier was seen crying and distraught following a visit from his wife and daughter just hours before he killed himself, which was confirmed by the documents released Tuesday, which said that Zygier’s mother had sent an email from Australia to one of his attorneys on the day of the suicide, saying that she feared that he could be suicidal because his wife had told him she was cutting off their relationship.


The Ministry of Justice stated that in April that they will not bring criminal charges against any of the Israel Prison Service personnel or other persons who had responsibility for Zygier’s safety. The matter now rests with the IPS, which is carrying out disciplinary actions against the employees involved in the case.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) recalled that when she brought up Zygier in a parliamentary question, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich told her that “there are no anonymous prisoners in Israel.”

“The revelation that there is another secret prisoner is serious and worrying,” Gal-On wrote on Facebook. “In a democracy, there cannot be secret prisoners, with no outside supervision of where and under what conditions they are held.”

“Even worse,” she added, “in a democracy, ministers do not lie to the Knesset and the public.”

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) called for the State Comptroller to investigate the “Prisoner X” affair, which he said raised questions that have yet to be answered.

“The thought that additional soldiers are being held in such conditions is frightening and disturbing. Only the State Comptroller has the tools to investigate,” he stated.

According to MK Issawi Frej (Meretz), “we are on the fast track to becoming a dark police state.” staff contributed to this report.


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