Lawsuit filed against purported Israeli bioweapons lab

The top secret Israeli Institute for Biological Research, believed to be a bioweapons laboratory, was recently sued by a former employee.

Avisha Klein, once a rising star in the organization, has sued the IIBR, alleging he was harassed and emotionally abused by the institution for years, according to Klein worked as the co-coordinator of the live animal department and was part of a team that developed an ointment to protect skin against the effects of mustard gas.

The suit also names the institute’s director, Dr. Avigdor Shafferman, and the director of security at the Defense Ministry as defendants.

The IIBR, tasked with developing treatments to protect Israelis against chemical and biological weapons, has often been accused of developing those weapons on its own. This will be the first time a claim against the institute will be heard publicly in court. Shafferman has had several complaints filed against him in the past, but investigations have always cleared his name.

In the suit, Klein claims he received permission to serve as a consultant on raising monkeys for export on a private farm. Organizational opposition to experimenting on animals squelched the plan and Klein’s troubles began soon adterward, according to the Israeli paper Haaretz.

After the monkey incident, Klein’s superiors claimed he had never received permission to be a part of the project and had forged permits for it. A Defense Ministry investigation was soon launched into Klein’s activities.

In the wake of the investigation, Klein was suspended and moved into what was described in Haaretz as “an abandoned and rickety shed filled with mice and rats, which had formerly served as a storeroom.” After three idle years in the shed, Klein took a short sabbatical in the United States and then a two year unpaid vacation.

Upon returning in 2003, Klein was told there was no position for him at the institute. He was not fired and continued to show up for work for five more years, during which time he was paid a salary.

In 2008, Klein was investigated again by the institute’s security officer and the Defense Ministry. They claimed Klein had leaked information that was eventually published in Haaretz. Klein was soon barred from the premises and claims that a statement was issued to all institute employees that was meant to denigrate and humiliate him, according to