rosenstein stands court .
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
kingpin Ze'ev Rosenstein was charged with one count of murder and two counts of
manslaughter on Tuesday, over the killings of three criminal rivals as they sat
on the beach in Tiberias in 2001.
Rosenstein, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence in
Ayalon Prison in Ramle for an American conviction on Ecstasy trafficking, was
initially linked to the three murders by a suspect arrested during a massive
police raid on a cocaine smuggling ring this past September.
The suspect, one of 26 people arrested during September's
raid, turned state's witness, and told police Rosenstein had ordered the
murders of underworld figures Rafi Weitzman, David Ben-Mergi and Sharon Musawi,
in revenge for an alleged attempt to have Rosenstein killed in 1996. The three
men were shot dead from close range as they sat on the beach.
Rosenstein was arrested at first in late September, but
police struggled to assemble enough evidence based on the state witness's
testimony. In recent days, however, the Central Police District's Central Unit
succeeded in recruiting a second state witness, a man said to belong to the
criminal underworld, who also linked Rosenstein to the murders.
If convicted, Rosenstein, who was born in 1954, is
expected to remain behind bars for the rest of his life.