Court convicts Farhan for murder

By ABE SELIG, JPOST.COM STAFF
July 21, 2010 10:34

Labeled "cold-blooded and manipulative.'

1 minute read.



Yihya Farhan (left) taken to court

Yihye Farhan 248.88. (photo credit: Dror Artzi / JINI)

Labeled “manipulative and cold-blooded” by the judges who presided over his murder case, Yihya Adwan Farhan was convicted by the Nazareth District Court on Wednesday of murdering Israeli-American teenager Dana Bennet, Czech tourist Sylvia Molrova and Aharon Simahov, a cellmate of Farhan’s during a brief incarceration in a Tiberias prison.

The 32-year-old father of four from the Galilee village of Wadi Hamam was also convicted of rape offenses, two counts of kidnapping with intent to murder, and abduction.

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After a nearly six-year search, Bennet’s remains were found in May 2009, buried in an orange grove just outside of Wadi Hamam. Bennet, who was 18 at the time of her disappearance, had vanished in the early morning on August 1, 2003, after finishing a shift at a restaurant on the Tiberias boardwalk.

After his apprehension in 2009, Farhan initially confessed to Bennet’s murder, along with the murders of Molrova and Simahov, and reenacted all of them for investigators. Over the course of his trial, however, Farhan retracted the confessions, alleging that they had been coerced, and instead attempted to lay the blame on his accomplice in the crimes – a young woman who had immigrated from the former Soviet Union and who cannot be identified because she was a teenager at the time of the killings.

Nonetheless, judges rejected Farhan’s claims of a forced confession, pointing to the strong evidence and testimony given by the now-23-yearold woman, who led investigators to Farhan and Bennet’s remains, and agreed to a plea bargain in the case. As part of that plea bargain, the woman was charged and convicted of aiding in two of the murders, and is currently serving a 14- year prison sentence for her role in the crimes.

After Farhan’s verdict was read on Wednesday, Bennet’s mother, Vicky, told reporters she was satisfied with the court’s ruling.

“Justice was done today,” Vicky Bennet said.

“I never believed it would turn out differently,” she added. “It’s no consolation, but it is a relief.”

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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