Man sentenced to life for 1986 Tel Aviv murder

57-year-old Ali Kara’in escaped to Jordan after strangling his lover, was extradited from US after 8-year prison term for fraud.

April 30, 2012 02:32
3 minute read.

justice court gavel ruling law 370. (photo credit: Thinkstock)


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The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to life in prison for murder, 26 years after police discovered the victim’s body in a Tel Aviv hotel.

Ali Kara’in, 57, escaped to Jordan immediately after murdering Amira Jabris in the Diplomat Hotel. Police believe he then passed through several countries using fake identities, ending up in the US where in 2002 he was arrested and sentenced to prison for fraud.

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On his release in 2010, Kara’in was extradited to Israel, where he was indicted for Jabris’s murder.

Last month, the court ruled unanimously to convict Kara’in of murder.

On Sunday, the panel of judges – Nurit Ahituv, Miriam Diskin and Raanan Ben Yosef – sent Kara’in to prison for life, the mandatory sentence for murder, and ordered him to pay Jabris’s family NIS 258,000 in compensation.

According to the indictment, Kara’in murdered Jabris on January 1, 1986. Kara’in booked a double room in the Diplomat Hotel and spent the night with Jabris. At some point that night, Kara’in strangled Jabris to death, then fled the scene. The next morning, he crossed the Jordanian border.

For a court to convict a defendant of murder, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant planned to kill his victim beforehand.

While Kara’in admitted having a relationship with Jabris, he denied murdering her.

He told the court that some time before the day she died, they had agreed to break up, even though he agreed to meet her in the hotel room. There, Kara’in said, Jabris told him she was pregnant and demanded he marry her. The two then had sex, in the middle of which, Kara’in said, Jabris jumped out of bed, shot at and attacked him. Kara’in claimed he then grabbed her neck for no more than a minute, threw her to the bed and then went to shower.

When he came out of the bathroom, Kara’in claimed, he saw that Jabris was lying on the bed, dead.

Kara’in’s defense attorney, Adnan Aladin, initially argued that under these circumstances, Kara’in must be acquitted, since with no evidence of planning he could not be convicted of murder, and as he was extradited from the US on a murder charge, legally he could not be convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter.

However, the court rejected this argument.

In addition to forensic evidence collected after the murder, the court also reviewed testimony from Jabris’s mother, Shula Hafetz, who said that Jabris had complained that Kara’in was jealous, occasionally violent, and refused to let her out in public or wear a bikini.

Kara’in’s defense claimed that he could not have murdered Jabris, because he only held her neck for less than a minute, and therefore her death must have been caused by another means, including that she suffocated after he let go of her.

However, the court accepted testimony from a forensic expert, who said that Jabris must have been suffocated until her death or until she passed out.

The court also noted that Kara’in had given different versions of events, which could not be blamed on memory loss as he recalled many details accurately.

In passing sentence on Sunday, the judges said that the high level of compensation imposed on Kara’in reflected the fact that he had caused the victim’s death by exerting manual pressure on her neck for a long time, watching her die, yet not letting her go.

“Only now, 26 years after the murder will [Jabris’s] family be able to gain at least some compensation for the loss they experienced,” the judges said.

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