Killer of Herzliya cabbie Derek Roth asks for pardon

The Justice Ministry's Pardons Department has received a request for a pardon from Arbel Aloni, the teenager who, along with his friend Moshe Ben-Ivgi, killed Herzliya taxi driver Derek Roth in 1994. Aloni and Ben-Ivgi, both from Herzliya, were sentenced to 16 years in prison for the murder. Four years later, while on leave, they committed armed robbery, using a knife and revolver to steal NIS 400 from a shopkeeper, and were sentenced to an additional five years in prison. Ben-Ivgi managed to escape from Israel four years ago on another prison leave and is currently in Argentina. Israel asked for his extradition but the procedure failed and Ben-Ivgi has been living as a free man for the past year. Meanwhile, Aloni has now served 14 of his 21-year combined sentence and is eligible for a pardon after having completed two-thirds of his time. He has requested a pardon according to the two procedures available to him - a presidential pardon or a pardon granted by a parole board. To obtain a presidential pardon, the prison must submit a request to the Pardons Department, which recommends to the minister of justice whether to grant the request. Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann is free to accept or reject the recommendation. The minister, in turn, recommends to the president of the state whether to accept the pardon request. The second type of pardon involves a routine procedure. Most prisoners are released after serving two-thirds of their term unless there are special reasons for keeping them in jail. Such reasons include the prisoner's failure to express or indicate remorse for his criminal actions, misbehavior in jail or the determination by the parole board, on the basis of assessments by social workers and prison authorities, that the prisoner continues to be a threat to society. Aloni asked for the routine pardon on the grounds that he had behaved well in jail. Roth's family has spoken out strongly against Aloni's early release. One of his daughters told Israel Radio on Tuesday that he should serve out his full sentence. Aloni was 16 when he and Ben-Ivgi killed Roth, whom they did not know and regarding whom they had no motive. According to one account, the two teenagers argued with Roth about the taxi fare and shot him in the back of the head. The youths told police they did it for fun.