Israeli Prosecutors Argue Against Retrial for Man Convicted of Killing Schoolgirl

Team from State Prosecutor's Office says request for trial in murder of Ta'ir Rada recycles claims rejected in previous rulings

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court, October 20, 2015.
Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court, October 20, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

A team of prosecutors have come out against holding a retrial for Roman Zadorov, who was convicted of murdering 13-year-old Ta’ir Rada at her school in the Golan Heights in 2010.

The prosecutors from the State Prosecutor's Office, some of whom weren’t involved in the case before, examined the case file and Zadorov’s retrial application, including what his attorney claims is new evidence. But it concluded that Zadorov was rightly convicted and there are no legal grounds for a retrial.

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The retrial request merely “recycles arguments that arose during his trial and were rejected by the courts that convicted him,” the prosecution said in a brief filed with the Supreme Court. Moreover, it said, nothing in the request undermines the three key pieces of evidence that led to Zadorov’s conviction – his confession to a police informant while in jail, his confession to police investigators and his reenactment of the murder.

The request is “full of baseless conspirative claims, as if all the parties involved in the case had worked together for the last 14 years to incriminate one innocent man – the police, the prosecution and the forensic labs,” the brief said. “Every innocent incident in the case is interpreted as an attempt to convict Zadorov or conceal the truth from the public.

“For instance, an inaccurate translation is depicted as intentionally misleading, a random hand motion as deliberate, an innocent conversation as a conspiracy, and an inability to locate an old verdict in the databases as indicating that unknown parties had banded together to conceal the verdict from the public.”

The retrial request argued that Zadorov’s confessions were false and that the evidence which the courts said supported these confessions was meaningless. It also gave great weight to three unidentified footprints found in the toilet stall where Rada was killed.

But the prosecution brief said that both the trial court and the Supreme Court had considered and rejected those arguments in their verdicts.

The prosecution also rejected the three new expert opinions submitted by Zadorov’s attorney, Yarom Halevy. One, relating to the bloodstains found at the scene of the crime, has “so many flaws, apparent even to the eyes of someone ignorant of the field, that it carries no weight,” the brief said. It added that the new opinion certainly can’t trump the opinion of the prosecution’s expert, who was at the crime scene in real time. Moreover, it said, this opinion contradicts the position of Zadorov’s own attorney during his trial.

Another opinion, by a former Shin Bet security service officer, “isn’t even an opinion,” the brief said; rather, it’s “essentially a repetition of claims already made in court and of existing evidence in the case, and contains nothing new.” The prosecution also rejected an opinion about Zadorov’s internet browsing history.

In 2010, three judges of the Nazareth District Court unanimously convicted Zadorov of having murdered Rada in 2006. When Zadorov appealed to the Supreme Court, he sought to introduce new evidence, so the justices returned the case to the district court.

The lower court heard the new evidence but said it didn’t change anything, and once again convicted him unanimously. Zadorov appealed again, but the Supreme Court rejected his appeal in a split decision. Then-Supreme Court President Miriam Naor subsequently rejected his request that the court rehear the appeal.

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