Suspected right-wing terrorist believed to have killed four Palestinians
The Shin Bet security service claims to have incriminating recordings and transcripts of statements made by right-wing extremist Chaim Pearlman in which he is heard to confess to killing four Palestinians.
Interrogators presented the evidence to Pearlman in the hope that he would acknowledge the killings and provide a detailed account of the crimes.
The Shin Bet and the police allege that Pearlman is responsible for the deaths of four Palestinians and the attempted murder of seven more between 1998 and 2004.
Police asked the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court yesterday to extend Pearlman's remand by 15 days. The hearing was open to the public, as a gag order on the case was lifted on Wednesday.
At the start of the hearing, police gave the judge a binder containing classified information, including the transcript of Pearlman's interrogation and transcripts of his meetings with Shin Bet investigators. The latter included the statements he made that led to his arrest.
Initially, police refused to tell the court how many murders Pearlman is thought to have committed. But after a lengthy debate during which Pearlman's attorney, Adi Keidar, insisted that police release the information, Judge Nitza Maimon-Shashua ordered them to comply.
Police said the killings and attempted killings were committed in 1998, 1999 and 2004, but refused to provide details on the incidents, beyond saying that Pearlman is thought to be involved in the deaths of three Arabs in Jerusalem in 1998. They did not specify the circumstances of the fourth killing.
The three murder victims were identified as Kheiri Alkhem, a laborer from the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, who was fatally stabbed in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood in May 1998 while on his way to work; Khalil Ibrahim, 44, who was killed on Strauss Street in the capital; and Osama Natshe, 41, from the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Abu Tor.
Keidar argued before the court that the sole purpose of his client's detention was to force him to confess to the killings.
"We deny all the charges," he said. "They have fabricated a case against him. I am relying on the news media and other channels [for information], and it turns out that this is a complex case in which Pearlman was deployed as a Shin Bet agent."
Maimon-Shashua ruled that the suspicions against Pearlman were strong enough to warrant extending his remand, but only by seven days. She explained that judicial oversight of the investigation was important, since the suspect has yet to consult with his attorney.
Pearlman's wife, Keren, attended the hearing and said, "Ultimately, the one that will be screwed in this case is the state."
Keren Pearlman distributed a pamphlet entitled "Know Your Rights," which was written by far-right activist Noam Federman.
It details the Shin Bet's interrogation methods and provides pointers on how to respond. But her efforts to hand her husband a copy of the pamphlet were to no avail.
Meanwhile, the Petah Tikva District Court rejected Pearlman's appeal against the Shin Bet's edict banning him from seeing his attorney. The security service will likely seek to extend the order, which it can do by a maximum of 10 days.
Any attempt to deny Pearlman a meeting with his attorney beyond the 10-day period is contingent upon the attorney general's approval. By law, the maximum amount of time permitted before a suspect is entitled to see an attorney is 21 days.