Shaul ganon with towel covering face 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
LGBT activist Shaul Gonen, 50, was released to house arrest on Friday
after he was arrested on June 5th on suspicion of sexually assaulting a
minor, believed to be the motive for the murders at the Bar Noar Tel
Aviv LGBT youth center on August 1, 2009.
As he exited the Tel
Aviv Magistrate’s Court, Ganon denied he had any connection – directly
or indirectly – to the Bar Noar shooting.
“I know that while I
have been under arrest there has been a great deal of rumors circling
around put out by people with vested interests, which have no basis in
the truth. My arrest and the besmirching of my name have done great
damage and great pain to my family, my friends, and myself,” he said.
added, “I don’t now, nor did I ever, have any connection to the Bar
Noar murders. Not directly or indirectly and I never committed any other
Gonen’s name was cleared for publication by the court on Friday after previously being covered by a gag order.
lawyer, Ron Alon, would not respond to questions about whether his
client signed a deal with police to become a state witness in the case
against the three suspects in the shooting, in which two people were
killed and 11 were wounded on August 1, 2009.
Alon added that his
client had no connection to the planning or execution of the attack and
that if he had known the suspects were plotting such an attack, he
would have gone to police right away.
The police case against
alleged trigger man Hagai Felician and suspected accomplice Tarlan
Hankishayev is built on the theory that the two were taking revenge on
Ganon for sexually assaulting a male relative of Felician, then a minor
and today the third suspect in the case. A close relative of Hankishayev
is the state witness in the case, but having Ganon also agree to
testify would help police efforts to secure an indictment.
Both Ganon and the young relative have denied that any abuse took place or that they knew each other.
was reported last week that a woman had issued a police complaint
against Ganon, claiming that he tried to rape her ten years earlier,
before she had gone through gender reconstructive surgery.
worked as an activist in the LGBT community for well over a decade and
was a founder of the Bar Noar youth center. He was working as the
manager of the center but was not present the night of the shooting.