State compensates convicted killer

Court declares 1976 Amos Baranes murder trial flawed, unfair.

crime scene (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
crime scene
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
Tel Aviv District Court ruled that Amos Baranes, who was convicted of murder 34 years ago, should receive over NIS 5 million from the government.
Baranes was charged with murdering Rachel Heller, a soldier, in 1976, and sentenced to life in prison. In 2002, the Nazareth District Court ruled that Baranes's right to a fair trial was violated, and he was not given a chance to defend himself in the original trial.
The court accepted Baranes's suit against Israel Police and the State of Israel, ruling that he should receive NIS 5 million for revoking his freedom and cutting short his life's path and ability to support himself.
The court added that the 1976 made Baranes a social outcast, and left him mentally scarred.
"All I can say is that the court accepted my version of the story and understood the depth of the scars that I have for the rest of my life," Baranes told Walla. "For 30 years I was in the garbage of Israel. I wasn't a citizen, I was a war criminal. My words weren't heard. Today, they were heard clearly."
"Today, we hear how Amos was right - it was said clearly in court," Baranes continued, in his interview with Walla. "But no one will return my youth to me. The attorneys, the police and everyone who agreed with them are to blame."
The soldier Rachel Heller from Bat Yam was arrested at age 19 on October 23, 1974. Her naked body was found with signs of torture on it in the sand. Baranes was arrested shortly after and admitted to the murder.
Baranes claims that he admitted to the murder due to a violent investigation, in which he wasn't allowed to sleep and was under sever mental pressure. In 1976, at age 30, Berranes was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Eight and a half years later, then-president Haim Herzog granted him a pardon, but Baranes continued to appeal for the court to declare him innocent. After four petitions, he still wasn't granted a retrial, but the judge denying his retrial in December 2002 criticized the investigation, and said that Baranes's case was deeply flawed.