Prisoner X died by hanging in shower: Israeli court

An anonymous detainee found dead in prison in December 2010, identified by Australian media as Mossad agent Ben Zygier, died by hanging in his cell's bathroom, an Israeli court revealed on Tuesday.

"The deceased was found hanging in the shower of his detention cell, with a sheet around his neck tied to the window of the bathroom," read the protocol of the Rishon LeZion magistrate's court hearing on a request to loosen a gag order on the case.

Israel went to extreme lengths to cover up the story of Prisoner X and imposed a strict gag order on all details of the case, after Australian media last week broke the story of Mossad agent Ben Zygier, whom it said was found hanged in an isolation cell in Ayalon prison in Ramle near Tel Aviv.

The outcome of the inquest on the anonymous detainee's death was released last week, and found that he had committed suicide, without detailing how.

Following a petition to loosen the gag order, which the state prosecutor's office supported, the court released parts of the investigative report, which quotes the coroner as saying the death occurred on December 15, 2010.

The coroner said there "were also light abrasions on his left forearm caused by a dry blow that didn't contribute to the death."

A later report by the coroner added that "a small quantity of a sedative was found in (his) blood, not alcohol or drugs," without it changing his opinion that the cause of death was hanging.

The protocol quotes the inquest as saying the prison service could be guilty of "negligence in causing the deceased's death."