Israel released details on Tuesday about the 2010 jailhouse suicide of an Australian immigrant reported to have been a disgraced Mossad spy, saying he hanged himself in his cell and no foul play was involved.
The affair was kept under wraps until it emerged last week with an Australian television expose that identified the dead man as 34-year-old Ben Zygier, a likely Israeli foreign intelligence recruit held for suspected security offences.
Without explicitly naming Zygier, Israel has confirmed that at the time it had a dual citizen in custody and under alias to stem serious harm to national interests, on which it would not elaborate. The Dec. 15 date it gave for the detainee’s death matched that etched on the Melbourne-born Jew’s gravestone.
Easing a gag order, an Israeli court allowed the publication on Tuesday of the results of a judge’s inquiry, completed two months ago, into the death.
The investigation showed the prisoner looped a wet sheet around his neck, tied it to the bars of a bathroom window in his cell and hanged himself, choking to death.
Israeli media reported the bathroom area was not covered, for privacy reasons, by closed-circuit television cameras that transmitted images from other parts of the isolation cell.
Ruling out foul play on the basis of medical and physical evidence, Judge Dafna Blatman-Kardai said entry to the cell was monitored by cameras and examination of their footage showed no one “intervened in causing the death of the deceased”.
She said his family - which has not commented publicly on the case - agreed with the findings.