Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Less than a week after Central District police announced the arrest of crime
boss Avi Ruhan, the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Monday ordered Ruhan and
co-defendant Hanoch Atzmon released to five days of house arrest.
a blow to the double murder case against them.
At a hearing on Sunday,
police asked for Ruhan and Atzmon’s remand to be extended by five days, but the
presiding judge ordered them kept in custody only until Monday’s hearing, after
which they were freed.
Ruhan’s arrest a week before had been given high
visibility by police, who said it was part of ongoing efforts to fight organized
crime. It came in the wake of two underworld car bombings in Ashkelon last month
that sparked public outrage.
Ruhan and Atzmon’s arrest was in connection
with the July car bombing at the Yarkonim junction in Petah Tikva. It left two
men – Dekel Tzafar, 35, and Sharon Farhi, 31, both of Rosh Ha’ayin – dead at the
Ruhan, who heads a major crime organization in central Israel and
has been a central figure in police investigations, was immediately declared a
suspect in the July car bombing, as well as in the murder a month earlier of two
men associated with a rival crime family.
Ruhan’s attorney, Kobi Ben-
Shaya, repeated on Monday his claim that the mobster’s arrest a week earlier had
been merely for public relations purposes, saying his client was not worried he
would remain in custody.
“There was nothing to this arrest, and my client
knew from the beginning that he would be released,” Ben-Shaya said.
has been a wave of arrests of underworld figures following last month’s Ashkelon
In addition to Ruhan and Atzmon, three associates of mob
kingpin Amir Mulner were detained on weapons charges, while Rishon Lezion
mobster Dudu Amouyal and southern crime boss Shalom Domrani were arrested on
Saturday night on charges of conspiring to extort a famous Netivot rabbi and
influence municipal elections there.