Alleged baby killer recants confession

Valis' attorney claims confession was coerced and therefore illegal.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
May 8, 2006 18:25
1 minute read.
Alleged baby killer recants confession

Valis 248.88. (photo credit: Channel 2)

A 19-year old haredi man suspected of beating his three-month old infant to death withdrew his confession on Monday, asserting that it had been coerced by police. The suspected baby killer, Yisrael Valis, is facing manslaughter charges for allegedly repeatedly biting, beating, pinching and punching the infant since he was born because he "did not accept him" due to a neck muscle defect the child was born.

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Valis was arrested last month after he confessed during police questioning to repeatedly beating his child. But his attorney said Monday at a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court that his client's confession was coerced and thereby illegal. Valis's lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, told the court that interrogators put heavy pressure on his client while his son was still hospitalized in critical condition, telling him he would only see his son if he collaborated with them. Feldman added that he intends to hold "a secondary trial" to examine the confession Valis gave his interrogators, in an attempt to disqualify it. The defense attorney's moves follow a recent separate precedent-setting court ruling which stipulates that courts have the authority to disqualify evidence against a defendant, including a confession, if it was obtained illegally. Feldman told the court that he has a document proving that Valis's interrogators did not inform him of his right to consult a lawyer prior to his being interrogated. The young father's arrest led to days of haredi rioting in Jerusalem, after extremist leaders in the vehemently anti-Zionist Edah Haredit community - which the prominent Valis family is part of - accused police of concocting a "blood libel" identical to European blood libels against the Jews. The baby died in a Jerusalem hospital on April 10, a week after his father allegedly hurled the baby against the wall when he started to cry. Last month, the court placed Valis under house arrest after probation officers determined that he does not pose a danger to the public. The trial begins next week.


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