Ben Zygier the alleged Mossad spy known as “Prisoner X” hanged himself in Ayalon Prison by tying a bed sheet to the steel bars of the window in his cell’s bathroom, and then standing on a stool, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday.
Citing the Israel Prison Service report written up immediately after Zygier’s suicide in December 2010, Maariv reported that Zygier woke on the morning of Dec. 15, 2010, ate breakfast and then took his bedsheet to the bathroom, the only area in his cell which is not monitored by security cameras. Zygier reportedly told his guards that he was taking the sheet to the bathroom to wash it. He then apparently tied the sheet to the steel bars of the bathroom window, stood on a stool, and hanged himself.
Citing the Prison Service report, Maariv said that since Zygier had not been considered a suicide risk, his guards had not carried out checks on him every few minutes, but rather at intervals of 20-25 minutes.
The leak from the Prison Service investigation conflicted with an earlier report on Israel’s Channel 2 which said that Zygier was under constant surveillance and was considered a suicide risk. The earlier report, which cited unnamed members of the rescue crew called to the prison, also said that no object that could have been used to commit suicide was found near Zygier’s body.
The findings of the Prison Service investigation of Zygier’s death reportedly contributed to the decision by Rishon Lezion Magistrates’ Court Judge Dafna Baltman Kadrai that his death was a suicide.
The Prison Service noted in recent days that there is no way to prevent a prisoner from committing suicide unless prison psychiatrists rule him to be a suicide risk. Had Zygier been deemed such, he would have been imprisoned in the “spaceship,” a special cell with foam walls and without ledges, furniture or bars with which a prisoner can commit suicide.
“It’s an extreme step that’s taken only after actual threat,” the Prison Service told Maariv. “It’s not like in Zygier’s case. The wardens received instructions not to speak with the prisoner except with regards to food and daily inspections.”