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Press Release: The appointment of the former head of the GSS, Carmi Gilon, as Ambassador to Denmark

Press Release The appointment of the former head of the GSS, Carmi Gilon, as Ambassador to Denmark The following NGOs, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FI.ACAT), the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), REDRESS, and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), which are also members of the Coalition of International Non-Governmental Organisations Against Torture (CINAT), are gravely concerned about the appointment of Mr. Carmi Gilon, the former head of Israel’s General Security Service (GSS) as Ambassador to Denmark, starting in August 2001. These NGOs call on the Danish Government to ensure that its police and prosecutors investigate and, if appropriate, indict Mr. Gilon for violation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), should he take up his post as Israeli Ambassador in Denmark. As the Head of the GSS from 1995-1996, Mr. Gilon was responsible for the interrogation of at least 320 Palestinians being detained by the Shin Bet, during which time they were reportedly subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Mr. Gilon has admitted to having authorised the use of torture against Palestinian detainees in his autobiography. During his tenure, Mr. Gilon was reportedly at odds with then-Attorney General Michael Ben Yair, who demanded that the use of violent and illegal means of torture be minimized. Mr. Gilon, however, recommended and authorised “special measures” in interrogation, such as violent shaking, which, in the case of Mr. Abed A-Samed Hareizat, lead to the detainee’s death. Other forms of torture used during interrogation include: being tied up in painful positions (known as shabeh); being forced to crouch for extended period (qambaz); hooding; and lengthy periods of sleep deprivation. Mr. Gilon has justified these measures as having been a necessity in the fight against terror, in a recent interview with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postens. APT, FI.ACAT, IRCT, REDRESS, and OMCT recall that under Articles 5, 6, and 7 of the UN Convention against Torture, the State of Denmark has an obligation to investigate, arrest and prosecute persons who are alleged to have committed acts of torture. Article 6, in particular, specifies that after an examination of information available States Parties “shall take him (person alleged to have committed torture) into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence.” In this context, there is no need for discussions as to whether human rights or humanitarian law should apply, given that the prohibition of torture is absolute. It is a norm that is present in both types of treaties and cannot be derogated from or suffer any kind of limitation. The prohibition against torture is widely regarded to be a part of “jus cogens” and therefore cannot be suspended under any circumstances. The information available provides overwhelming indications of Mr. Gilon’s active participation in numerous acts of torture, most notably in his autobiography, in which he admits to having ordered members of the GSS to use torture during the interrogation of Palestinians. APT, FI.ACAT, IRCT, REDRESS, and OMCT would like to urge the Danish Government to comply without delay with its obligations under the UN Convention against Torture and other relevant norms of international law, and wishes to remind the Danish Government that it has the legal obligation, as a state party to the CAT, to ensure that Mr. Gilon is investigated for his role in grave violations of this Convention, and, if there is a sufficient case against him, is indicted for his crimes. Thursday July 19th, 2001. Press contacts: APT: Laurence d’Esposito, Tel : 00 41 22 734 20 88 FI.ACAT: Anne Le Tallec, Tel: 00 33 1 42 80 01 60 IRCT: Suzanne Clark, Tel: 00 45 22 62 07 82 REDRESS: Carla Ferstman, Tel: 00 44 207 278 9502 OMCT: Michael Anthony, Tel: 00 41 22 809 49 33
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