Saturday, 16 February 2013

Reading on Prisoner X

The New York Times reports that Australian Ben Zygier (aka Prisoner X) may have been involved in the 2010 assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai in which fake Australian passports were used:
The Australian-Israeli man recently identified as Prisoner X — found dead in 2010 in a maximum-security prison cell — may have been involved in the assassination of a Hamas leader that year, an episode that was among the most embarrassing in the history of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida reported Thursday that Ben Zygier, who immigrated to Israel from Australia and apparently spent a decade working for the Mossad, was among the 26 suspects in the assassination plot, in which Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas official, was drugged and suffocated in his hotel room in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Al Jarida, a liberal opposition newspaper, said that Mr. Zygier had provided the authorities in Dubai with “names and pictures and accurate details” in exchange for protection, but Israel kidnapped him from a hiding place and imprisoned him on charges of treason about a month after the Jan. 19, 2010, operation. (more at the NY Times)
The Guardian reports that the Israeli Government may be offering compensation to Prisoner X's family:
The Israeli government has reportedly offered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to the family of "Prisoner X" – an agent of the Mossad with Australian and Israeli citizenship who took his own life while secretly imprisoned for undisclosed "grave charges".

An unnamed source was quoted in the Haaretz newspaper claiming a compensation deal was agreed six weeks ago following the conclusion of an official inquiry into the death of Ben Zygier, who was imprisoned in 2010 under a false identity and who killed himself in Unit 15, a "secret prison" within Ayalon jail near Tel Aviv. (more at the Guardian)
How Zygier managed to hang himself in his one person jail is a bit of a mystery, as guard should have been able to see him on video. Haaretz, however, suggests an interesting reason why he may not have been observed:
Ben Zygier, also known as Prisoner X, was not being watched 24/7 like Yigal Amir, Rabin's assassin; Prison Service officials refuse to confirm or deny the possibility that they were ordered not to film Zygier, perhaps to prevent him from relaying messages to the guards.
Now that's taking solitary confinement seriously.

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