TV personality Dudu Topaz attempts suicide in prison
Topaz admitted to paying neighbor to arrange assaults on several prominent television executives.
Television personality Dudu Topaz attempted to commit suicide in his Abu Kabir detention facility cell overnight by injecting himself with insulin, an Israel Prison Service spokesperson said early Thursday.
Topaz, was hospitalized in Holon's Wolfson Medical Center in stable condition after a warden found him lying on the floor of his cell with several insulin syringes beside him.
Topaz spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his arrest, expressing remorse for orchestrating attacks on TV executives over the past year. Police said they were still trying to identify a person suspected of providing a link between Topaz and the men who carried out the beatings.
While being brought back to the detention facility at Abu Kabir, Topaz agreed to roll down the window of the police car and speak to a Channel 2 reporter. "I told the truth and it feels good," he said. "I'm first and foremost at peace with myself .... I don't know what was happening to me at the time, what craziness got into my head. I hate myself for getting to where I was, I don't know how it happened to me."
A source close to the investigation told Haaretz that since his confession, Topaz has been cooperating fully with the police and providing many details on other suspects and the plans for the attacks. "It seems like something broke through when he confessed; he won't stop talking," the source said.
Topaz has admitted to paying his neighbor Daniel Zenko to arrange assaults on Keshet television CEO Avi Nir, Reshet deputy director Shira Margalit and entertainment agent Boaz Ben-Zion.
He was brought to court early yesterday for another extention of his remand.
Police said they were now able to link two other detainees, Suleiman Hiadra and Ayman Zabidat, to the attack on Margalit. They said this became possible thanks to the testimony of Zenko, who confessed to having been the middleman between Topaz and the two alleged attackers.
Also, a fingerprint of one of the men was found on the car of Margalit's partner, near the attack scene, the police said. After Topaz confessed, he was brought to a face-to-face confrontation with Zenko, sources said.
According to the sources, Topaz challenged Zenko and told him to "confess, we did it together." At first Zenko was reticent and told Topaz: "Stop talking to me, I'm just your neighbor, I don't know what you're talking about."
But later in the confrontation, Zenko began cooperating. He confessed to some of the crimes attributed to him, and linked himself to the attack on Margalit.
Zenko was said to have gone as far as apologizing for his involvement, saying he never thought things would go as far as they did. He said the original intention was to arrange a mild assault, and that Hiadra and Zabidat were told to deliver "only a few slaps." "I realize I made a mistake," he said.
However, Zenko also confessed to receiving NIS 30,000 for arranging the attack on Margalit, and to have transferred half the sum to Hiadra and Zabidat. After Topaz confessed to all the crimes attributed to him, Zenko confessed to helping arrange the attack on Ben-Zion.
Zenko's attorneys, Moshe Peretz and Uri Aviv, said Zenko confessed to some of the crimes attributed to him, in particular to having been the middleman in the affair. "But he denies any connection to the actual carrying out of the attack," one of them said. "It's obvious there was a group of attackers Topaz engaged without going through Zenko."
Topaz's lawyer said "Dudu Topaz is at one of the lowest and most difficult points of his entire life. The state of his health is something that will undoubtedly be considered by the court." However, the lawyer declined to comment on whether his client was intending to plead insanity.
Hiadra and Zabidat will be brought to court Thursday for an extension of their remand.