Barnoar state’s witness

Ex-witness in Tel Aviv Gay Center Attack Petitions for New Prosecutor

Zaur Khankashiyev accused of misleading the prosecution now indicting him, claims prosecution's conflict of interest would lead to unfair punishment.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
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The state witness in the Barnoar shooting in court, February 20, 2014.Credit: Daniel Bar-On
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

The former state’s witness in the case of the double murder at the Barnoar gay youth club in Tel Aviv in August 2009 petitioned the High Court of Justice this week to stop the Tel Aviv prosecutor from handling the case against him, claiming conflict of interests.

Zaur Khankashiyev had agreed to be state’s witness in the case against Hagai Felician, who was charged with murder and attempted murder in July 2013. The state cancelled its witness deal with Khankashiyev in March 2014, when it transpired that he had fabricated his testimony against Felician. Consequently the charges against Felician, which were based on Khankashiyev’s false testimony, were dropped, after he had spent nine months in detention.

Khankashiyev, who was indicted on charges of fabricating evidence, giving false information, fraud and subornation, now says the prosecution, which he had allegedly led astray, cannot handle the case against him and negotiate with him on his penalty.

At the last moment Khankashiyev rejected a plea bargain under which he would serve a sentence of 70 months in prison. His attorney resigned and attorney Elad Rath of the Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent him.

“The indictment against the petitioner suggests clearly that he is the sole cause for not solving the murder in Barnoar, for indicting Felician, for detaining him close to nine months and for hurting the families of the murder victims and the teenagers who were injured in the attack,” Rath writes.

He says that by omitting the other “players” involved in the case, the Tel Aviv police and prosecution were providing the court with a partial and misleading picture.

The prosecution, which handled the investigation negligently and with many flaws, also bears responsibility for the investigation’s failure, the petition says, demanding the case is passed to another district’s prosecutor.

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