A wave of suicides among prison inmates continued yesterday after a 71-year-old inmate was found dead in his cell in Ramle's Nitzan Prison. Pinhas Baruch hanged himself sometime between Monday evening and yesterday morning in the prison's medical unit, the ninth inmate suicide this year. In all of 2009, 12 prisoners took their own lives.

Baruch hanged himself only about a month after a psychiatrist determined he was no longer a danger to himself, after previous concerns that Baruch, serving a life sentence for murdering his ex-wife, would take his own life. The prison service appointed a committee to investigate Baruch's suicide.

An initial investigation by prison authorities indicates Baruch hanged himself with an elastic bandage which he tied to a shower stall wall. According to a prison source, a social worker had met with Baruch Monday and found him calm and without complaints, despite being given the opportunity to express any distress he was feeling.

Baruch was convicted of killing his ex-wife, Ziva, two years ago near Anatot, apparently after she rebuffed his request to move back in with him. He choked her in his car and then continued driving until she died of her injuries, refraining from seeking medical care for her.

About two months ago, a cult leader suspected of extreme abuse, Shai Abramov, committed suicide at the Hadarim prison in the Sharon region.

Among the 12 prisoners who killed themselves last year was Assaf Goldring, who was accused of murdering his 3-year-old daughter, Noa. He, too, killed himself at the Hadarim prison, by flinging himself headfirst off a three-meter wall.

Last year, entertainer Dudu Topaz, who had been charged in a series of attacks against television executives, took his life at Nitzan prison by hanging himself with an electric kettle cord.