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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Israeli ambassador faces torture protest
Israel suicide bomb wreckage
Israel used force to get information on suicide bombs
By Julian Isherwood in Copenhagen

Israel's new ambassador to Denmark has arrived on Wednesday to be met by a demonstration and calls for him to be tried for torture.

The trouble started several weeks ago when Carmi Gilon gave an interview to a Danish television station in which he condoned the use of moderate physical pressure in the interrogation of Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli police arresting a Palestinian
Gilon believes strong-arm tactics should be reintroduced
Mr Gilon was head of the Israeli security service, Shin Beth, in the mid-90s, when Israel officially used such methods to gain information about possible suicide attacks against Israeli citizens.

The practice has since been stopped in Israel, but Mr Gilon said that he felt it should be reintroduced.

The political parties in Denmark were outraged, particularly after human-rights organisations such as Amnesty International have said that the practice was none other than torture and had caused the death of at least one prisoner.

Diplomatic immunity

Several parties in Denmark have said they will hand over a report to the Danish police requiring it to investigate Mr Gilon when he arrives to see whether there are grounds for prosecution under Denmark's anti-torture laws.

But the Danish Government, despite making guarded comments that Mr Gilon should perhaps give up his appointment, has made it clear that he enjoys diplomatic immunity and cannot be tried in Denmark even if grounds were found.

The Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, has said that Mr Gilon enjoys his full support and the Danes simply have not understood the realities of the Middle East.

The BBC's Marcus Brabant
"He can not be challenged in the Danish courts"
Soren Sondergaard, Danish MP
"This is a case about torture"
See also:

13 Aug 01 | Middle East
Israel blames Arafat for Haifa blast
09 Aug 01 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
26 May 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Middle East's circle of despair
27 Apr 01 | Middle East
Is Sharon coming or going?
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