Ex-state’s Witness in Tel Aviv Gay-killing Case Gets Nearly 6 Years

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State's witness Zaur Khankashiyev in court, February 2014.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

A former state’s witness in the case of the 2009 double murder at a gay youth club will be sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, state prosecutors said Sunday.

The State Prosecutor’s Office reached a plea deal with Zaur Khankashiyev, who in March was indicted for obstruction of justice, fabricating evidence, providing false testimony, subornation and fraud. The plea bargain was reached at the Tel Aviv District Court.

In March, the State Prosecutor’s Office called off the state’s-witness deal on suspicions that Khankashiyev had fabricated testimony against Hagai Felician, who was charged with murder and attempted murder in July 2013. Charges against Felician were dropped in March after he spent nine months in detention.

The shooting took place in August 2009 at the Barnoar gay youth center near Rothschild Boulevard in the center of Tel Aviv. A 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man were killed, and dozens were wounded.

For his part, Khankashiyev has said that everything he did, he did on the instruction of his handlers.

Prosecutors said one reason for the plea deal was to prevent the exposure of the police’s methods for working with agents.

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