Amiram Ben-Uliel, the suspect in the Duma arson murders in 2015, was convicted on three counts of murder by the Lod District Court on Monday. He was acquitted of charges of being part of a terror organization.
The arson attack on the Samarian Arab village Duma targeted the Dawabshe family home killing 1-year-old Ali and his parents, Sa’ad and Riham Dawabshe.
The entire case is mired in controversy as Ben Uliel initially claimed that he was innocent but then confessed after being tortured by the Shabak. Other controversial aspects of the case include the official police timeline which originally stated that Ben Uliel committed the arson with a partner. When the police found no evidence of such, they changed their report to say that Ben Uliel acted alone.
The judge initially acknowledged that Ben Uliel was indeed tortured into confessing but claimed that because he also signed a confession well after the torture ended, the confession was admissible.
Another scandalous aspect of the investigation was the recreation of the arson. As the police entered Duma, Ben Uliel was asked to reconstruct the crime. But when Ben Uliel asked them to stop the car so that he could do that, the police refused. That is a violation of protocol as the investigators are not allowed to interrupt or distract a suspect reconstructing a crime. Footage of the recreation can be seen below.
The initial suspects in the Duma affair were all denied due process. The Shabak (Israel’s secret police) admitted that they used special interrogation means that later were revealed to be torture in order to allegedly force confessions. For the first time in Israel’s history, the minor suspects were not allowed to appear before a judge during their remand. Many speculate that the reason was because the Shabak was still in the process of torturing them and they didn’t want a hearing to distract a forthcoming confession.
Since Ben Uliel has been arrested, at least 12 other arson attacks took place in the village of Duma.
The Honenu organization, who is representing Ben-Uliel, said that they would appeal the verdict.