Pearlman released to house arrest

Shin Bet still views alleged Jewish terrorist as prime suspect.

August 11, 2010 15:13
2 minute read.
"Kahane killer" Haim Pearlman

haim pearlman 2 311. (photo credit: screen shot)

Alleged Jewish terrorist Chaim Pearlman was released to house arrest on Wednesday after spending more than a month in jail. 

In a rare and unusual move Wednesday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) released a press statement in response to the Petah Tikva Magistrate's court's decision to release Pearlman to house arrest, saying that the organization will still view him as a prime suspect in the 1990s murders of four Arabs and the attempted murder of seven more.

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"At this point, insufficient evidence has been gathered to prosecute Pearlman. However, the allegations against him have not been refuted, and the Shin Bet views him as a central suspect in the carrying out of the attacks," the Shin Bet said in the press release.

Both the police and Shin Bet requested that Pearlman's remand be extended an extra day, but Petah Tikva Judge Nahum Streinlicht ruled that Pearlman be released to house arrest at his parent's home in Tekoa.  Police and Shin Bet claimed that an attempted murder victim had chosen Pearlman in a police line-up and therefore his remand should be extended.  The judge discounted the worthiness of the police line-up, stating that the publication of Pearlman's picture in the media compromised the victim's judgement.

On Monday, police and prosecution sought an eight-day extension of Pearlman's remand that was denied by Judge Streinlicht. Streinlicht extended the suspect’s remand by just two days, saying the 28 days he had been in custody were enough for the state to find sufficient evidence.

Pearlman, a 30-year-old father of three from Beit Rabban near Yavne, was arrested in July by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) and Israel Police as the main suspect in the stabbing deaths of four Palestinian men in Jerusalem in the late 1990s. Three other men were arrested for allegedly having helped Pearlman commit the murders; all but one have been released.

Shortly after Pearlman’s arrest, associates released audio recordings to Channel 2 in which an alleged Shin Bet agent appears to urge him to kill the head of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch, Sheikh Raed Salah.

Pearlman has said he was set up by the Shin Bet and had no connection to the murders.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report

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