Hagai Felician 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Almost nine months after police arrested Hagai Felician for the 2009 murders of two patrons at Tel Aviv’s Bar Noar LGBT club, state prosecutors canceled the indictment against him on Sunday. The decision means that the double murder case that has plagued Tel Aviv police since August 2009 has now gone back to being unsolved.
The Justice Ministry said Sunday that it made the decision during a meeting between Tel Aviv district prosecutors and police after the police had concluded its investigation of the state’s witness in the case. The witness, a former friend of Felician’s, was the backbone of the case until police discovered last month that he had fabricated much of the evidence against Felician.
The witness himself now faces charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence, and on Monday prosecutors will ask for him to remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him.
“The role of the prosecution and police is to reach justice and not to convict indicted people no matter the cost,” the Justice Ministry said on Sunday, adding that “the Bar Noar investigation is still ongoing at full force and all efforts will be made to solve the crime.”
The state’s witness is suspected of falsifying his correspondence with Felician during the months he was working undercover for police building up wiretap evidence on Felician. The discovery of his misconduct last month led to the release of Felician in late February, and from the moment the discovery was reported it was assumed to be only a matter of time before the indictment was canceled altogether.
The case against Felician was built almost entirely on the witness’s testimony, and did not include DNA, fingerprints, forensic evidence linking him to the murder weapon, or a witness placing him at the scene.