Court lifts media ban on identity of former Bar Noar state witness

Zohar Hankishayev revealed to be former witness who was indicted last month for fabricating evidence in double murder at LGBT center.

Zaor Hankishayev (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Zaor Hankishayev
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Zohar Hankishayev was the former witness who was indicted last month for fabricating evidence in the Tel Aviv LGBT center double murder case.
The Supreme Court lifted the media ban Thursday on revealing the identity of the state’s former main witness in the Bar Noar double murder case.
Hankishayev was indicted shortly after the state canceled its deal with him because he was a problematic witness.
The canceling of the deal and dropping of the witness led the state to cancel the indictment against the main suspect in the 2009 double murder at the center, Hagai Felician.
In its decision to lift the media ban on Hankishayev’s identity, Justice Uri Shoham wrote: “It is no secret that the suspect served in the past as a police source in solving certain crimes. Therefore, there was an inherent fear that those who his actions affected could attempt to harm him. However, this was a general, non-concrete concern, and intelligence on the matter shows no specific threat against the suspect.”
Shoham added that those who would wish to harm Hankishayev were likely to be aware of his identity despite the media ban.
The decision to reveal Hankishayev’s identity was made after news outlets petitioned the court against the media blackout.
Hankishayev was a childhood friend of Felician and the other earlier suspects in the case, Felician’s younger brother Benny and Hankishayev’s brother Tarlan Hankishayev, all of whom grew up together in the Pardess Katz neighborhood of Bnei Brak. The double murder investigation was the flagship case of Tel Aviv police and the subject of countless hours of work until Hankishayev contacted police from prison last year and said he knew who carried out the killings.
Police signed a deal with Hankishayev, making him a state witness and sending him with a wire-tap and a police-supplied phone to get recordings and text messages implicating his childhood friends.
The case built up by Hankishayev’s work led to the arrest of the suspects in June.
Hankishayev then began to make headlines as a highly problematic witness, escaping from his safe house in Tel Aviv and violating an agreement not to talk to the press.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.