LGBT activist gets police deal in Bar Noar case

Shaul Ganon was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor; believed to be motive for gay center murders.

Suspect in Bar Noar shooting 300 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Suspect in Bar Noar shooting 300 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police have signed an agreement with LGBT activist Shaul Ganon for him to serve as a witness in the 2009 Bar Noar murder case, a detective said during a remand hearing for the three suspects in the murder on Sunday.
The remand of the suspects – Hagai Felician, Tarlan Hankishayev and a third individual whose name cannot be released – was extended by another week.
Having a second witness should help augment the police’s case, which at the moment rests almost solely on the testimony of the state witness who cracked the case – a close relative of Hankishayev.
That witness, who four months ago told police he knew who committed the Bar Noar murders, would most likely prove shaky in trial, as the witness was in prison for a violent crime and secured an early release in exchange for his testimony. That violent crime was only the latest on the witness’s long rap sheet, stretching back to his juvenile years.
Toward the end of the remand extension on Sunday, the third suspect, a younger relative of Felician, stood up and repeated his request for his name to be released and denied that he had ever been sexually assaulted or met Ganon. The suspect also offered to take a lie detector test.
“I want to say something – I was never raped, never in my life did a man touch me! I don’t think there needs to be a gag order on my name and I am asking to lift the gag order. This is all lies,” the younger suspect said.
The case against the three suspects hinges on the claims of the police and the state witness that Ganon sexually assaulted the younger suspect, creating the motive for the alleged revenge attack at Bar Noar, where two people were killed and 11 wounded.
Police said that the third suspect worried that Felician would find out that he had sex with a man, so he decided to tell him he was raped.
During attorneys’ questioning of YAMAR Tel Aviv detective Yoni Hajij, further details of the case emerged, including that only four days before police arrested the three suspects, the state witness went with the younger suspect and mutual friends to a Tel Aviv water park.
The detective also confirmed that, during the week of the arrest, the younger suspect and the witness went to the witness’s house, where the witness told him that Ganon sexually assaulted him.
Police would not reply to the attorney’s question if he could confirm that the younger suspect told the witness that he had never heard of Ganon or Bar Noar.
During the hearing, each of the suspects’ lawyers took turns questioning the detective, and time and again criticized what they said was a weak case that lacked evidence, including a gun they can link the suspects to, or any eye witnesses who saw them on the night of the murder near or at the scene of the crime.
Police also confirmed that, so far, the only suspicion they have against Hankishayev is that he supplied Felician with a ski mask before the crime, with each lawyer brushing off the suspicion as strange, being that Felician could have easily just bought his own mask, and that there is no way to confirm that Hankishayev knew the mask was to be used in a murder.
Police said Hankishayev was also heard on tape telling the witness not to talk about the Bar Noar case.
As the lawyers continued their questioning, the detective revealed how, while the witness was working for police, he recorded evidence for a series of charges against the defendants, almost all of them severe but none of them involving the Bar Noar shooting.
This included the sale of 100 Ecstasy pills by Felician, a number of burglaries and the transportation of an explosive device by Hankishayev, as well as a wiretap recording in which the younger suspect orders a gun from the witness, so he can settle a score with someone whom he had a personal feud.
Attorneys were also unable to get a clear answer from Hajij about which of the suspects told the witness that he needed help plotting a revenge attack on Ganon.
The detective said that police have been trying to plan a confrontation between Ganon and the younger suspect, but were not able to make it happen. He would not explain why.
Felician’s attorney Moshe Sherman said in court on Sunday, “This is a complicated case that police revealed too early, and now they don’t know how to get out of this case.”
Hankishayev’s attorney Shimshon Weiss, for his part, said that “this entire case is based on the words of a man who himself was investigated in connection to the case four years ago and suddenly now decided to create this version of events.”
Weiss added that the witness had his own interests for implicating the three suspects.
On Friday, the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court released Ganon on two-weeks house arrest. He was detained on suspicion of sexually assaulting the third suspect, who was 15 at the time.
As he exited the court, Ganon denied the allegations against him.
“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.