The Petah Tikva Court that last week ordered a partial lifting of the gag order that prohibited publication in Israel of news about the imprisonment — in Israel — of Gaza Power Plant’s Deputy Director of Operations, Dirar Abu Sisi, ordered today that he be held for (at least) another two days.
The hearing was closed to the media, according to Israel’s YNet news website.
Abu Sisi was reportedly grabbed while travelling on a train in the Ukraine on 18-19 February and subsequently transferred in Mossad custody and in in rather short order to Israel.
YNet reported here that Abu Sisi’s two lawyers, Smadar Ben-Natan and Tal Linoi, Dirar Abu Sisi’s attorneys “claim he is in poor physical and mental condition, but is cooperating with investigators”, and they said “the engineer told them that he was forcibly removed from his train compartment and brought handcuffed and hooded to an apartment. He said at least six Israeli agents interrogated him before flying him to Israel”.
The YNet report added that “much of the remaining details surrounding the case remain under a gag order”.
Abu Sisi has not yet been charged with anything, though he has been held by force, at first partially incommunicado for some two weeks, under constant lengthy interrogations. He has been in Shikma Prison in Ashkelon for almost two weeks, and may have been in a Shin Bet facility near Petah Tikva for the first two weeks he has been in Israel.
UPDATE: Jonathan Cook has reported that “One of his Israeli lawyers, Smadar Ben Nathan, who met him for the first time at the court hearing on Sunday to lift the gag order, said she believed Israel had carried out the operation based on false information. She called the abduction a ‘miscalculation’, saying interrogators had dropped their original line of questioning. She said the gag order meant she could not discuss the case further”.
Cook added that “Ben Nathan said her client had lost a great deal of weight and his health was deteriorating after more than a month incommunicado. His family is concerned that he is being tortured. Although the Mossad is suspected of carrying out many assassinations on foreign soil — including a hit on a Hamas leader, Mahmoud al Mabhouh, in a Dubai hotel last year — there are few examples of it seizing individuals in foreign countries to bring them to trial. Ben Nathan said she could identify only two similar cases: Israeli agents captured the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, and smuggled Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whisteblower, out of Italy in 1986. Victor Kattan, an international law expert at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, said Israel had broken several human rights laws in seizing him rather than invoking treaty agreements between the Ukraine and Israel and requesting his extradition”. This article can be read in full here, or here.