State witness dies in prison cell

Prison service reports that Alzam had been alone in his cell for hours.

zeev rosenstein 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
zeev rosenstein 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Yonatan Alzam, a 22-year-old serving a life sentence for his part in the murder of Hanan Ohana in 2003, died unexplainably shortly after midnight Monday. Alzam was convicted several months ago for his part in the murder of Ohana, an associate of Zeev Rosenstein. Alzam, who had been in good health, began coughing late Monday evening and complained that he wasn't feeling well. A prison guard alerted a medical team, and within minutes, he was evacuated in an intensive care ambulance to a hospital in Netanya. Alzam still had a pulse when he arrived at the hospital; however, efforts to save his life were unsuccessful and he died at 12:05 a.m. on Tuesday. He was supposed to testify that Shimon Zirhan - allegedly affiliated with the Aberjil crime family from Lod, archrivals of Ohana and Rosenstein - had a hand in Ohana's murder. As a state witness, Alzam required protection and was separated from the general prison population in his own cell. The prison service stated that Alzam had been alone for hours before he began to feel unwell. At 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a police detective and forensics specialists were brought to Alzam's cell to collect any evidence that would explain his death. A special committee, headed by a prison service doctor, has been appointed to investigate his death. Alzam's family has been notified.