Suspect in Shelly Dadon murder case says he was abused, coerced into confession

Trial of Hassin Yussef Hasin Halifa began in Nazareth; Dadon's family says suspect told police detals that only the killer could have known.

Shelly Dadon (photo credit: COURTESY THE FAMILY)
Shelly Dadon
(photo credit: COURTESY THE FAMILY)
The Israeli-Arab man who admitted to the murder of 20-year-old Shelly Dadon confessed under duress, including abuse and sleep deprivation, his attorneys said Sunday, adding that they planned to contest the confession’s legality.
Attorneys Ala Saliman and Wassim Shahada were speaking to the media outside Nazareth District Court as the trial of their client, Hassin Yussef Hasin Halifa, got under way.
Saliman and Shahada said Halifa told them that over the course of a week of interrogations he had been allowed to sleep for a total of just eight hours and was kept handcuffed for 15 hours or more at a time, all while being threatened by interrogators that he would spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement.
They added that the interrogations included “relative physical violence,” but mainly a constant “serious pressure” that forced him to confess under duress.
Dadon was killed on May 1 after she disappeared while on her way to a job interview in Migdal Ha’emek. On June 16 the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin in the Galilee.
The Shin Bet says that Halifa picked up Dadon on the way to the interview and took her to a deserted parking lot where he stabbed her to death, leaving wounds across her entire body. He then washed his taxi in a failed attempt to get rid of physical evidence linking him to the crime, and ditched Dadon’s wallet in the Arab village of Beit Zarzir, where it was found by local youths.
Dadon’s father, Yaakov, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the family had heard the attorneys’ allegations about the confession but were not concerned “We’ve seen the evidence, it’s all solid,” they said. “They have no chance so they’re trying this tactic. We’re not worried. We trust the justice system.”
One Dadon relative who doesn’t trust the system is Assaf Sarid, the victim’s cousin. He told the Post on Sunday that the lawyers were “killing our family again and causing them further suffering” and that “the justice system in this country is a disgrace and they’re just saying this with the hope that the courts believe them.”
Both he and Yaakov Dadon added that Halifa had told police things that only the killer would know and that when he reenacted the crime at the murder scene he was able to give details he couldn’t have known otherwise.
“Even if the lawyers convince the court, the entire country knows he did it,” Sarid said.
The killing of Dadon was a major story back in May, and from the beginning police and the Shin Bet said it was most likely a terrorist attack, even as it eventually was determined to most likely have been criminal in nature, with no apparent nationalistic motive.
After the killing, relatives of Dadon and residents of her hometown of Afula held protests in the city calling for police to find the killer and also for Israel to end the practice of releasing convicted murderers in agreements with the Palestinians.