Israel is holding a second unidentified security prisoner in conditions of extreme secrecy, according to court documents released this week in relation to Prisoner X, the Australian-Israeli secret agent who hanged himself in jail in 2010 and whose case caused a sensation when it was exposed earlier this year.

‘Sensational offences’

The existence of another top-secret prisoner was acknowledged in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, though no details were disclosed.

But former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described it as “an exceptionally grave case”, and the lawyer for Ben Zygier, who was dubbed Prisoner X when details of his case were revealed in February, said the second prisoner’s alleged offences were “sensational”.

Israel insisted it was acting within the law in regard to secret prisoners, held in isolation and whose identity is concealed even from prison guards.

The existence of “Prisoner X2” was revealed in an appendix to a document released by the Justice Ministry on the circumstances of Zygier’s death. It referred to “a separate prisoner jailed in Block 13”, a high-security cell in Ayalon prison. No further details were contained in the document.

According to a report in Thursday’s print edition of Haaretz, based on accounts from prison service officials, Prisoner X2 is held in a cell without windows, has no contact with other prisoners or jailers, and prison guards do not know his identity or any charges on which he has been convicted. He is allowed a short, solitary walk in a courtyard each day, and is monitored by security cameras around the clock. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013

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