Suspected Jewish terrorist Chaim Pearlman
Suspected Jewish terrorist Chaim Pearlman being released from jail on August 12, 2010 Photo by Alon Ron
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Chaim Pearlman, who is suspected of fatally stabbing at least three Palestinians more than a decade ago, was released to house arrest on Thursday, and said he was abused and humiliated while in jail.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court Judge Nachum Sternlicht on Wednesday cast doubt on the integrity of the investigation and said the Shin Bet security service lacked sufficient evidence to file an indictment.

Pearlman's release to house arrest for 15 days was delayed until Thursday morning to give police enough time to appeal.

"I was held in jail for 31 days," said Pearlman upon his release. "They cursed at me, humiliated me, I suffered, but now it is over, thank God."

Sternlicht said Monday that police had insufficient evidence to file an indictment, but gave them two of the eight days they had sought to complete their investigation.

"These are serious allegations of murder, and the suspect has been held for a month," Sternlicht said at the end of the hearing. "Evidence that led to his arrest has been assembled, but it was not sufficient to file an indictment."

Questions remain over the Shin Bet's conduct in the Pearlman affair and also over the exact number of killings attributed to Pearlman.

In its statement Wednesday the Shin Bet said: "An extended undercover investigation, conducted by the Shin Bet in coordination with the State Prosecutor's Office, had been pursued prior to the arrest and interrogation of Mr. Pearlman. The investigation raised serious suspicions - some of them based on remarks from the suspect himself - over Pearlman's personal involvement in a series of murders and other offenses."

"During the investigation the suspect was given many opportunities to present his version of events, but he decided not to respond to them or any of the suspicions raised by investigators," the statement said. "The Shin Bet views acts of terror seriously, regardless of who perpetrates them, and will continue using all the tools at its disposal to investigate these incidents, even if they occurred over a decade ago."