Family of Prisoner X Ben Zygier 'to receive millions in compensation from Israeli government'

Secret report into his death in prison in 2010 concludes he had committed suicide


The family of Ben Zygier, the Israeli-Australian Mossad agent who until this week was known only as ‘Prisoner X’, will reportedly be paid millions of shekels in compensation by the Israeli government, after a secret report into his death in prison in 2010 concluded that he had committed suicide.

The revelations, reported in the Haaretz newspaper today, come after a secret Ministry of Justice investigation, which was concluded just six weeks ago. Reports of the deal came as the Israeli media published the first interviews with prison guards at the high security Ayalon jail where Zygier was held until his death in December 2010, two days after the birth of his second daughter.

Zygier’s identity was revealed this week after Australia’s ABC television broadcast details of the case. There are still no official details about what crime he is supposed to have committed.

Zygier was housed in a high-tech cell designed for specifically for Yigal Amir, the killer of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “Nobody was permitted to be in contact with him. We gave him food three times a day, and only one guard was allowed to bring the food inside and none of us knew his name,” one prison worker said. “I don’t understand how he managed to commit suicide, with four cameras in his cell documenting him around the clock.”

Other reports have instead suggested that the state has admitted no fault in the suicide, and that Zygier’s family are still seeking compensation, with talks at an early stage. So far, none of Zygier’s relatives have commented on the case.

It is understood that Zygier’s cell was fitting with CCTV and that while he had books to read during his solitary confinement, he was allowed access to little else. It has been argued that he could only have killed himself in the bathroom of the cell.

So far, Israel has only confirmed that Zygier’s identity, and has not commented on the suggestion that he was a Mossad agent. The high profile Israeli lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, who met Zygier the day before his death said that a Mossad liaison officer had arranged the meeting.

Mr Feldman said Zygier had been indicted for “grave crimes” without specifying what they were. Zygier was considering a plea bargain, and had insisted that he was not guilty of the charges.

Speculation on what Zygier did have centred on his dealings with Iranian agents, and possibly that he had become a double agent. Australian media reports have instead suggested that rather being a traitor, Zygier was someone who was too vocal about his membership of the Mossad and that any charges are likely to be related to an unintentional breach of security.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk