Israel's Prisoner X, Ben Zygier, May Have Been Investigated For Spying Before He Hung Himself
A top-secret “Prisoner X,” whose name was initially withheld from the media, reportedly hanged himself in his cell in Israel’s maximum security Ayalon prison.
The man was recently identified by Australian media as Australian-Israeli citizen Ben Zygier. Zygier hung himself back in December of 2010, according to the BBC. A gagging order has recently been lifted around Zygier’s case, which has allowed the media access to details of the case.
Israel instated the gagging order and kept the prisoner’s identity secret from the public because they believed he had links to the spy agency Mossad. Israel has not confirmed the prisoner’s identity as Zygier, but Australian media does believe he was ‘Prisoner X.’
The court report says that the prisoner was found hung by a sheet that had been tied to his bathroom window on Dec. 15, 2010. The autopsy confirms he died from asphyxiation. The report also suggests that there may have been failures by the Israel Prison Service, who perhaps could have prevented the suicide.
"Orders to prevent suicide were given and the elements entrusted with guarding the prisoner were aware of them. These orders were not upheld and a 'window of opportunity' was used by the deceased to commit suicide,” said Judge Daphna Blatman Kendrai, who overviewed the case in 2010.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel has a right to keep sensitive information from the public for the sake of citizens’ safety.
"We are not like all other countries,'' Netanyahu said about the gagging order. "We are more threatened, more challenged, and therefore we have to ensure the proper activity of our security forces.''