Kidnapper and murderer Tzvi Gur dead after 41 years in prison

Gur had been incarcerated in Ma’asiyahu Prison for kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Oron Yarden.

 Tzvi Gur comes to the Supreme Court to ask for permission to leave prison for a few days, as is allowed some Israeli prisoners. July 06, 2009. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Tzvi Gur comes to the Supreme Court to ask for permission to leave prison for a few days, as is allowed some Israeli prisoners. July 06, 2009.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

Tzvi Gur, who kidnapped and murdered 8-year-old Oron Yarden in 1980, died of cancer in prison on Friday at the age of 74.

Gur has been imprisoned for 41 years in Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle. His release was scheduled for 2025, having been sentenced to 45 years for the murder. 

On Tuesday, he was released to Shamir Medical Center in Tzrifin following a deterioration in his condition, according to Israeli media. He requested an early release from prison due to his medical condition, a request which was accepted by the court but was appealed by the prosecution, ultimately delaying his release. 

Oron Yarden was kidnapped from his house in Savyon, in central Israel, by Gur on June 8, 1980. Gur demanded two million Israeli liras (4.7 million NIS at the time) for Yarden's release.

He received the ransom but was caught by police after he deposited some of the money in his bank account. It was then that he led police to the car that contained the boy's body, claiming that he choked to death when he was alone in the vehicle. 

An Israeli prison guard is seen through a gate at Maasiyahu prison near Ramle, south of Tel Aviv, Israel February 15, 2016. Former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert begins his 19-month prison sentence at Maasiyahu prison on Monday, making him the first former head of government in Israel to go to prison (credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)An Israeli prison guard is seen through a gate at Maasiyahu prison near Ramle, south of Tel Aviv, Israel February 15, 2016. Former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert begins his 19-month prison sentence at Maasiyahu prison on Monday, making him the first former head of government in Israel to go to prison (credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Gur was charged with kidnapping and murder, and sentenced to life in prison. Ezer Weizman, Israel's seventh president, shortened his sentence to 45 years. His sentence was the longest ever served in Israel, according to Israeli media.

"Murdering an 8-year-old is unforgivable," said the Yarden family attorneys, in their name. "The murderer was imprisoned to this day and now he will pay for his crimes in his death."

Gur's lawyer told KAN: "Their [the prosecution's] stance was cruel and absent of any human decency or mercy. They took away the basic legal right that every man has to take his last breath without handcuffs.

"There is no forgiving what Gur did. However, purely from a legal perspective, it would have been appropriate to release him early."