Israeli Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Murdering His Sister and Burning Her Body

Court says motive for 'unusually cruel' 2016 killing was Hussein Rakhal's 'dissatisfaction' with his sister’s way of life

Hussein Rakhal in Nazareth District Court facing charges of abducting and murdering his 19-year-old sister Renin Rakhal, February 14, 2016.
Gil Eliyahu

An Israeli man was convicted Monday of kidnapping his 19-year-old sister, bludgeoning her to death despite her pleas, and burning her body after pouring gasoline on it.

In its verdict, the Nazareth District Court said the murder was committed with “unusual cruelty.” Hussein Rakhal beat her with a hammer until her skull split, before setting her body on fire, the court found.

It added that the motive was Rakhal’s “dissatisfaction” with his sister’s way of life.

>> Read more: 'I didn’t hesitate for a second': What drives a young man to murder his sister

According to the indictment, Rakhal decided to murder his sister Ranin because she had left the family home in the Bedouin village of Beit Zarzir near Nazareth a few months earlier.

Thus in January 2016 he went to the nearby town of Mashhad where she was staying. He kidnapped her and took her to an isolated wood near Kibbutz Hanaton, where he killed her.

Rakhal had reportedly already threatened his sister. In August 2015, she was walking down a street in Upper Nazareth when her brother drove up with their mother and another sister. He called out to her, but she ran away in fear.

He drove after her, caught up and threatened to shoot her, even pulling out a gun and aiming it at her. When she fled again, he hit her with the car, injuring her leg.

Ranin Rakhal
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After that incident, a court issued a restraining order and the police summoned Rakhal for questioning.

One witness told the court that Ranin had said she suffered violence from her uncles and brother, especially her brother, and that they had threatened to kill her.

The witness also said that sometime after the incident in Upper Nazareth, Rakhal and his girlfriend had come to visit her in Tiberias, where she was living, and Rakhal was urged to reconcile with his sister. But Rakhal responded by threatening to kill his sister if he caught her.

On the day of the murder, Ranin called the police hotline and said that her brother and his friend were threatening her and one of her friends. A policeman came to the apartment in Upper Nazareth from which she called but later said he didn’t bring her to the station because she merely requested his help in moving her things from an apartment from which she had been evicted.

Judges Ester Hellman-Nussboim, Yifat Shitrit-Hadad and Saaib Dabour said they found the policeman’s account credible.