Court surprises state, releases Kotel shooter to house arrest

Court reasons that "the risk to public security that the accused represents can be tempered" under full house arrest.

October 13, 2013 18:42
2 minute read.
Security forces wheel the body bag of the man shot Friday morning at the Western Wall.

bodybag of J'lem Kotel shooting 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Jerusalem District Court Judge Yoram Noam surprised the prosecution on Sunday by ordering the release of “kotel shooter” Hadi Kabalan to house arrest over its strident objections.

Noam himself recognized that it was “an exceptional and rare” situation to release to house arrest a defendant accused of murder. However, the court reasoned that “the risk to public security that the accused represents can be tempered” by placing him under full house arrest instead of releasing him completely.

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Full house arrest includes having electronic handcuffs on one’s legs, as well as 24- hour chaperones committed personally to the defendant remaining in the house.

Security guard Kabalan, 25 years old, is accused of shooting and killing the unarmed Doron Ben-Shalush at the Western Wall on June 21.

Kabalan has claimed that he shot Ben-Shalush when the 46-year-old shouted “Allahu akbar” and reached into his pocket, thus leading him to believe that Ben-Shalush was a terrorist.

Noam said on Sunday that Kabalan’s claim of selfdefense could raise a reasonable doubt about the circumstances of the shooting which the court could not ignore, and that there was a significant possibility he would be acquitted.

The court also noted that the social services evaluator said Kabalan was stable and reliable enough to be released to house arrest.

It was unclear to what extent Kabalan’s generally strong background as a security officer might have also helped him get the benefit of the doubt from the court.

Despite the court’s order, the prosecution obtained a temporary freeze of the order should it want to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court by Tuesday afternoon.

The indictment, filed on July 4, said Kabalan and another guard, Khaled, checked Ben-Shalush at the security checkpoint when he arrived at the Western Wall area as he did on a daily basis.

The report continued that after the check, Ben-Shalush yelled at the two security guards and used a racial slur against them for being Druse.

The security guards continued their work, during which Kabalan allegedly asked Khaled and another guard if they would give him NIS 1,000 if he killed Ben- Shalush.

According to the indictment, when Ben-Shalush walked by the checkpoint later, Kabalan followed him, and when he was only meters away, opened fire.

The indictment said that Kabalan fired at Ben-Shalush 14 times at the center of his body, while coming closer and closer to him, and did not stop firing until his magazine was empty.

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