Following a police request on Thursday that the Acre Magistrate's Court extend the remand of Roman Zadarov, the 29-year-old Katzrin resident suspected of murdering eighth-grader Ta'ir Rada in the bathroom of her high school, Zadarov's remand was extended by the court for another eight days. The decision to extend his remand came despite the fact that Zadarov retracted his confession on Wednesday, not even 24 hours after police announced that they finally had a suspect.
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Zadarov reiterated his claim in court Thursday that his confession was forced from him, saying," They didn't let me eat or sleep. I just wanted to go home to my family, so I told them what they wanted."
Zadarov switched attorneys - and apparently legal strategies - on Wednesday morning, as Safed defender Ariyeh Hermlin quit and David Shpiegel took his place.
After confessing to the brutal stabbing murder, and even recreating it before police inspectors on Tuesday, Zadarov, advised by Shpiegel, said Wednesday that the confession had been made under pressure and was not accurate. After Hermlin quit, citing differences of opinion with his client, Shpiegel said that the confession had been extracted by unacceptable means.
Police first questioned Zadarov after he was named as one of the adults working on renovations to the school close to the time of the murder, and then released him. He was later arrested after making statements in a second interrogation that contradicted his original testimony.
In order to secure a confession, police said, they resorted to a classic technique. A "talker" was put in Zadarov's detention cell, a "prisoner" who led the suspect into a discussion during which he allegedly admitted to the murder.
Investigators then secured a second, official confession from Zadarov on Tuesday, after which he agreed to reenact the events leading up to the killing. Police said Tuesday night that Zadarov revealed details that only the murderer could have known regarding Rada's dress and the positioning of her body.
Zadarov recanted the confession less than a day after Northern District police officers announced in a much-publicized police press conference that they believed they had cracked the case. The next day, police said that even without Zadarov's confession, they had sufficient information to connect him to the murder.
Zadarov is due to appear in court on Thursday morning for a remand extension, and is expected to claim that he had made the confession during an emotional crisis and after a period of severe sleep deprivation.
Zadarov's wife, Olga, jumped to her husband's defense on Wednesday, telling Army Radio, "My husband is a very good man. I have known him for three years. We have a little baby, and he has never raised his hand to me or to anyone else. He's never even so much as raised his voice."
Army Radio also revealed Wednesday that the construction worker was in the process of acquiring Israeli citizenship when he was arrested. After arriving in Israel from the Ukraine on a tourist visa in 2002, Zadarov extended his visa multiple times, but did not apply for citizenship because he is not considered Jewish under the Law of Return.
Zadarov moved to Katzrin in 2003, where he lived with the parents of his future wife. In 2004, he was allegedly caught using a forged work permit.
Only after his February 2005 marriage to Olga, an Israeli citizen, could Zadarov apply for citizenship. After his marriage, Zadarov applied for citizenship, a process that takes an estimated four years. In the meantime, Zadarov is considered a temporary resident with a work permit.