Court releases crime boss Ruhan less than a week after arrest for double murder

In blow to police, Ramle Magistrate's Court order Avi Ruhan, co-defendant Hanoch Atzmon released on 5 days house arrest.

Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Less than a week after Central District police announced the arrest of crime boss Avi Ruhan, the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Monday ordered Ruhan and co-defendant Hanoch Atzmon released to five days of house arrest.
It was a blow to the double murder case against them.
At a hearing on Sunday, police asked for Ruhan and Atzmon’s remand to be extended by five days, but the presiding judge ordered them kept in custody only until Monday’s hearing, after which they were freed.
Ruhan’s arrest a week before had been given high visibility by police, who said it was part of ongoing efforts to fight organized crime. It came in the wake of two underworld car bombings in Ashkelon last month that sparked public outrage.
Ruhan and Atzmon’s arrest was in connection with the July car bombing at the Yarkonim junction in Petah Tikva. It left two men – Dekel Tzafar, 35, and Sharon Farhi, 31, both of Rosh Ha’ayin – dead at the scene.
Ruhan, who heads a major crime organization in central Israel and has been a central figure in police investigations, was immediately declared a suspect in the July car bombing, as well as in the murder a month earlier of two men associated with a rival crime family.
Ruhan’s attorney, Kobi Ben- Shaya, repeated on Monday his claim that the mobster’s arrest a week earlier had been merely for public relations purposes, saying his client was not worried he would remain in custody.
“There was nothing to this arrest, and my client knew from the beginning that he would be released,” Ben-Shaya said.
There has been a wave of arrests of underworld figures following last month’s Ashkelon car bombs.
In addition to Ruhan and Atzmon, three associates of mob kingpin Amir Mulner were detained on weapons charges, while Rishon Lezion mobster Dudu Amouyal and southern crime boss Shalom Domrani were arrested on Saturday night on charges of conspiring to extort a famous Netivot rabbi and influence municipal elections there.