Suspect in Bar Noar shooting 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tel Aviv prosecutors are on the verge of issuing a double murder indictment
against Hagai Felician, the Bnei Brak man suspected of being the trigger man in
the August 2009 Bar Noar murders.
On Thursday, a prosecutor’s declaration
was presented against Felician, the last step before an indictment is
The step means that as far as police are concerned, the
investigation against Felician is finished and the case can go to
Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Judge Ido Druyan also extended
Felician’s remand by an additional four days. The hearing was over within
moments, with Druyan saying to the bank of reporters present,
Despite the impending murder charge, Felician appeared
to be in high spirits on Thursday afternoon, smiling and waving to friends and
relatives in the courthouse. His attorney, Shimshon Weiss, described the police
case as weak and circumstantial, by no means a slam dunk for the
“This entire case is circumstantial, there is no primary
evidence that links Felician to the crime,” Weiss said at the courthouse on
When asked how such a case was able to secure an indictment,
Weiss said, “police had to reach an indictment for their own sake. The media
circus around the case created a situation where they had to reach an indictment
and then they can say, we did our part, it’s the court that let him
The Bar Noar has been a major headache for Tel Aviv police over the
past four years and seemingly even more so since the arrests of Felician and two
other suspects were made in early-June.
Touted by police as the most
expensive murder investigation in the history of the country, news of the
arrests were followed by a number of public embarrassments for police.
week after the arrests, police held a press conference to release details of the
case that had previously been banned from publication by a sweeping gag order.
As the cameras were rolling on a battery of Tel Aviv district commanders, and
details of the case were being published on all Israeli news outlets, Druyan
extended the gag order, forcing police to ask the press to retroactively delete
the details they had just published.
Later in June, the state witness in
the case, upon whom the police’s case was dependent, escaped from his safe house
in Tel Aviv and evaded police for almost 48 hours, during which the future of
the case was in serious jeopardy.
Felician is the only one of the three
original suspects set to face charges in the case. A younger relative of
Felician’s was released last month on the charge, as was Tarlan Hankishayev, who
had been arrested for allegedly helping plan the murders, which left two dead
and 11 wounded at the Bar Noar LGBT youth center on August 1,
According to the police case, the murders were committed by
Felician in order to avenge the sexual assault of his younger relative – the
second suspect in the case – by Shaul Gonen, the manager of the LGBT center.
Gonen was arrested and charged with sexual assault in June, but was given
immunity in exchange for becoming a witness, a decision by police that has been
met with criticism.
The police case will weigh heavily on the testimony
of Gonen and the state witness, “Z”, a relative of Hankishayev.
serving a prison sentence on an assault charge in early 2013 when he came
forward to police telling them he knew who committed the Bar Noar murder. Police
deployed Z as an informant, and sent him to build wiretap evidence on the
There is currently no physical evidence linking Felician to the
pistol used in the shooting or scene of the crime, nor any eyewitnesses placing
him at Bar Noar on the night of the murder.
Police have stated that he
went AWOL from the army for four months after the murder, a fact that will be
part of the case against him in court, in addition to the testimony of the state
witness and Gonen, and statements Felician made to two jailhouse informants
placed in his cell last month.