The Prosecutors' Sleepless Nights

Tomer Zarchin
Tomer Zarchin
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Tomer Zarchin
Tomer Zarchin

The verdict is due today. The prosecutors in the trial of former President Moshe Katsav, Ronit Amiel and Nissim Merom, worked tirelessly from the beginning of the trial, with Amiel saying in a Haaretz interview earlier this month that the case cost her many a sleepless night, "because I examined decisions I had made over and over. We are talking about people's lives, in every sense. The accused is also a citizen of this country and then there are the victims and the public interest, which I represent."

"I feel a very, very unequivocal need to present excellent professional work, and it's clear that thoughts disturb me throughout the day and sometimes also at night," she said at the time.

The two divided the witnesses between them, but when the former president himself took the stand - he is facing charges of sex crimes - they questioned him together. They would also hold meetings with the top officials in the prosecution and with the previous attorney general, Menachem Mazuz.

Amiel, 50, is the number two in the Central District prosecution, and is seen as a natural successor to the current district prosecutor, Rachel Shiber. She is also held in high regard by state prosecutor Moshe Lador, and as seen as highly professional. Amiel joined the central prosecution office in 1984, and took unpaid leave to attend the Mandel Institute for educational leadership in 2006. She was recalled from her studies for the writing of the Katsav charge sheet and the trial. Cases managed by Amiel over the years included rape and other sexual offenses, murder, violence and incitement to violence. She was also involved in a trial concerning an attempt by the Russian mafia to infiltrate Israel.

Her partner in this case, Nissim Merom, 42, is seen as a rising star in the Tel Aviv district prosecution office. He studied law at the Management College after serving as officer with the paratroopers and with the Intelligence Corps, and got a master's degree in law at Bar-Ilan University.

He has been with the prosecution service since 1997, and was involved in such cases as the extradition of the Abergil brothers to the United States, the fraud case against former minister Gonen Segev, the case of abduction and abuse against Meir Amar, the son of Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, accused of kidnapping and abusing a man who courted his sister.

Merom also served as prosecutor in the trial of Dr. Svetlana Russo Lupo, convicted of manslaughter in the death of 4-year-old Neta Li Borovsky, after falling asleep during the girl's operation. Merom has also prosecuted cases involving murder, drugs and white-collar crime.

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