Court Slaps Gag Order Back on Tel Aviv Gay Center Attack After Police Mistakenly Release Details

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On Monday, Israel Police released details of the 2009 shooting attack at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv, but within less than an hour it emerged that the court had not lifted the gag order on the case.

The details of the investigation were published in Haaretz and all other major Israeli news media at exactly 5 P.M. − in accordance with police authorization. By 6 P.M., all media were told to remove the item from their websites.

The incident seems to be the result of a miscommunication between the Tel Aviv District Police and police representatives present at the court deliberations on the gag order.

The district police apparently understood that the updated gag order pertained only to the names of the suspects, and thus informed the media of all the details of the affair.

Although the blackout was reinstated, a great deal of information on the identity of the suspects and the details of the killings can still be found on various websites.

The mix-up began when Judge Ido Druyan decided to lift the gag order on Tuesday at 1 P.M., except for the name of the activist in the gay community who was arrested. Police asked that the gag order be lifted sooner. The court agreed to suspend it at 3:30 P.M.

But following the request of the suspects’ attorneys, a hearing took place at the time the report was to be released. At 4:30 P.M., the Tel Aviv police held a press briefing in which it gave out the details of the case. At 5 P.M. the details were released in media outlets, except for the names of the suspects.

Soon after this, the suspects’ attorneys challenged the lifting of the gag order. Druyan then delayed the release of the information until Wednesday at 1 P.M.

Four people have been arrested over the shooting rampage four years ago that resulted in the deaths of two people at Barnoar. Three of those arrested are suspected in the murder and the fourth, an activist in Tel Aviv’s gay community, allegedly obstructed the investigation. It is believed that the fatal victims Liz Trubeshi, 16, and youth counselor Nir Katz, 27, did not know the murderer, and died simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also believed that the man who pulled the trigger was a hired gun who, when he did not find his target at the Barnoar youth club, opened fire indiscriminately.

A suspect in the Barnoar gay youth center shooting at court, June 6, 2013.Credit: Moti Milrod
A screen shot of the story on Haaretz before it was removed, June 10, 2013.

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