David Niv 224.88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The Supreme Court decision to release four murder suspects believed by police to be linked to the 2007 drive-by slaying of leading pain expert Prof. David Niv has left the deceased doctor's close colleagues fearing for their own safety.
On Sunday, the Supreme Court rejected the state's appeal to extend the custodies of Sami el-Mugrabi, Manny Ben-David, Imad el-Mugrabi and Salim Elbaz, all from Ramle, telling police that no breakthrough had been made in the case and that not enough evidence had been presented to justify the continued custody of the suspects.
Niv, who was head of the pain unit at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, was shot and killed while driving from work to his Savyon home on February 5, 2007. A man in a vehicle sprayed Niv's BMW with bullets.
Dr. Alexander Malpsman Tseikhin had replaced Niv at Ichilov Hospital for a year and has stayed in touch with Niv's family. He expressed skepticism on Monday that the police were on the right trail.
"I work with leading lawyers in Tel Aviv, and listening to them discuss the case, there are many doubts over the credibility of this episode [the police case against the suspects]," he said. "When I heard about the arrests... it seemed to me that this was not the direction.
"It's important to know whether this is a murder of a doctor by his patient, because when I treat someone, I evaluate their physical state, but I also need to evaluate whether I am in danger. I have to know whether we have reached the stage in Israel where any patient who has a problem with their doctor can inflict cruel violence," Tseikhin said.
Tseikhin said the pain department at Ichilov Hospital was still reeling from the pain and shock of Niv's murder. "This really hurt us.
Only a few months ago, we began to work with someone who permanently replaced him [Niv]," Tseikhin said. "I am in close contact with his family - they are hurting. Worse yet, they do not know what is going on. The uncertainty only makes the family's and our situation worse."
The pain unit at Ichilov Hospital is considered a leader in the field in Israel. Niv, an expert in anesthetics, was a pioneer who introduced radio wave treatment and spinal cord simulation to the country.
"He was certainly an exceptional leader," Tseikhin said. "Just a month before the murder, we celebrated 40 years since the founding of the unit."