Prof. Yehuda Hiss
Prof. Yehuda Hiss Photo by Alberto Denkberg
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Moti Milrod
Dr. Yoav Sapir Photo by Moti Milrod

Abu Kabir forensic institute could be at fault after new evidence is found.

Twelve years after Dennis Eisen was convicted of killing his 3-month-old son, he may be able to prove his innocence, while officials at the Institute of Forensic Medicine could be the ones facing criminal charges.

Chief Public Defender Yoav Sapir has asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to open a criminal investigation against the Abu Kabir institute and its director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss, for offenses including obstruction of justice, concealing evidence and giving false testimony.

The Wednesday's request came after the institute announced that it had found the baby's intact brain and heart tissue, crucial evidence that might help prove Eisen's innocence.

During the years of criminal proceedings against Eisen in two district courts and the Supreme Court, including a retrial, institute officials, including Hiss, had insisted they did not have any of the baby's organs, which had been buried years earlier.

"They took my son's body and took it apart like a chicken in a slaughterhouse," Eisen told Haaretz on Wednesday. "In 2003 they told us they buried the parts they had removed in a general grave; now the institute has found the brain and part of the heart. I'm considering a request for another retrial."

Eisen was convicted of killing his son Ron in 2000, mainly on the strength of Hiss' opinion that the baby had died from a blow to the head that occurred while his father was watching him.

Eisen was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but an appeal to the Supreme Court got his sentence reduced to 14 years. Eisen insisted he was innocent during the whole process.

In 2003 he asked the Public Defender's Office to submit a request on his behalf for a retrial. When the office found that the conviction was based mainly on Hiss' pathology opinion, it decided to seek another opinion. It asked the Abu Kabir institute about any evidence that remained from Ron Eisen's autopsy.

In response to the request by attorney Efrat Fink, the public defender responsible for retrials, the institute handed over small tissue samples, which it said was all that remained. The institute repeatedly said no other tissue was available.

But what experts said were anomalies in Hiss' pathology report were enough to raise questions about whether the baby had died from a blow or a rare heart problem, a possibility raised by Prof. Eliezer Rosenman and other pathologists Fink consulted. When Fink petitioned the Supreme Court for a retrial, court president Aharon Barak agreed to order it and Eisen was released from prison after serving six of his 14 years.

Before the retrial in Be'er Sheva District Court, several more approaches were made to the forensic institute, which insisted it had no more material available. That's what institute employees, among them Hiss, testified under questioning during the second trial, which lasted five years.

Last June, a plea agreement was struck, under which Eisen confessed to reckless manslaughter, and his sentence was commuted to time served.

"It's obvious the organs and tissues that were discovered could have served as convincing evidence in the legal proceedings against Eisen," Sapir wrote to Weinstein on Wedne.

Sapir also called on Weinstein to consider the ramifications of a government law-enforcement agency repeatedly denying the existence of crucial evidence, only to have it appear by chance years later.