‘Prisoner X’ Wasn’t Watched Closely, Hanged Himself after Shaken by Wife’s Visit to Prison

Israeli authorities have now released the full report by a judge on the death of Ben Zygier, the Australia-born man who moved to Israel and became a Mossad operative.

He hanged himself in a high-security, solitary cell partially covered by surveillance cameras.  The new revelations include a visit to Zygier — on the day of his death in December 2010 — by his wife and their daughter.

The report says he was miserable and crying, after the visit.  At one point, a minder from the Prisons Service prevented Zygier from passing a note to his wife.  This made him so distraught that the wife was allowed to re-enter the cell to spend a few more minutes with him.

Ben Zygier (from Australia’s ABC)

A social worker — who had visited Zygier, we now learn, 57 times in the prison where his real name was never uttered — was informed of how upset the prisoner was.  He had seemed, previously, to have possibly suicidal tendencies.  But, because he had wept in the past, the social worker did not react.

The judge blamed the Prisons Service for Zygier’s death. She ruled that PS staffers did not faithfully monitor the surveillance cameras in his cell.

Her report does not state what is widely known by now: that Zygier, using the name Ben Alon, had been a secret operative for the Mossad.  Why was he imprisoned, awaiting trial — with talk of a possible plea bargain?  That remains secret.

Why was he so upset by something his wife told him?  A source in the Jewish community in his native Melbourne, Australia, says Zygier’s wife was divorcing him.  Israeli officials have not confirmed that.

April 26, 2013

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