Niv Asraf, the IDF soldier who faked his own kidnapping.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Two men accused of faking a kidnapping in the West Bank last week were released from custody on Monday, but both are expected to be indicted by state prosecutors within a week, police said.
Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker were brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday days after Asraf was found with a sleeping bag and provisions in a dry creek bed outside Kiryat Arba, hours after Nagauker had reported him missing. Nagauker placed the call from an area near Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank, and police and the IDF immediately began treating the case as a possible kidnapping.
The presiding judge dismissed a police request that both men be released to house arrest, and set both of them free after they posted bail.
Judea and Samaria District police said Monday they expect that within a week prosecutors will indict both men on charges including fabricating evidence, disturbing the peace, and interfering with police work, among other potential charges.
Since the duo’s story unraveled Thursday night there have been two competing narratives about what drove the two to fabricate the kidnapping. Nagaukar told investigators his friend faked the kidnapping in a bid to win back his ex, who he thought would be concerned for his safety, and then impressed when he “escaped his captors” and returned.
Asraf, according to police, said that he fled because he ran up gambling debt to some dangerous men in the Beersheba area, and desperate and unable to get help from police, he decided to lay low for a few days.
Moti Yosef, the lawyer for Asraf, repeated this assertation on Monday that his client had repeatedly complained to police about the problems he had but received no assistance
Already it appears that the stunt may have cost Nagauker a potential career with the Air Force, where he serves as a driver. Following his arrest, it is very likely that his request to sign on as a career officer will be denied.
Some 3,000 soldiers and an untold number of police and Shin Bet personnel took part in the search during the more than 8 hours that Asraf was feared missing, a prosecutor said in court during their first hearing on Friday. The search is believed to have cost hundreds of thousands of shekels, while some estimate the cost running into the millions.