Israeli Suspected of Assaulting Wife Enters Hospital Where She Lies in Coma, Then Released

Prosecution says impossible to know whether, as he claims, the man might have come to the hospital disguised as a prison guard only to inquire about her situation

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
An Israel Police patrol car, for illustration only.
An Israel Police patrol car, for illustration only.Credit: Meged Gozani
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

A Tel Aviv court ordered on Tuesday the conditional release of a man under investigation for assaulting his wife, after he was arrested for breaking the rules of his house arrest by going to the hospital where she currently lies in a coma.

HAARETZ PODCAST: A very close call for Netanyahu and Mossad chief at the White HouseCredit: Haaretz

Dimitry Tzignok, 52, was arrested in early October on suspicion of going to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, violating the rules of his house arrest, disguised as an Israel Prison Service officer.

At first, the police claimed he had tried to assault his wife again, but that charge was dropped. The police and the prosecution both asked for his release. Tzignok originally denied having been at the hospital at all; when he was stopped by hospital security, he fled and was later arrested at home.

He later argued he had come to the hospital to inquire about his wife’s condition. Both police and prosecution asked for his release, based on the fact this could be genuine. Tzignok has now been put back under house arrest, and is under a restraining order keeping him away from the victim.

According to the original charge, Tzignok assaulted his wife and tried to rape her. She arrived at the hospital about a week after she was injured, and part of her leg had to be amputated after it became infected. She has been in the hospital for about a month and is now in a coma. She filed a police complaint against him after the initial alleged attack, but he was only arrested for the first time about a week ago, when one of her friends complained to the police. A source in law enforcement told Haaretz that the friend, from Ukraine, is in Israel illegally and later withdrew her complaint.

The police have no solid evidence connecting Tzignok to the violence that led to his partner’s injury. He admitted there had been an argument, but said she had been hurt after he pushed her on a table. At this time, his version of events cannot be ruled out, which is what led to his original release.

Police representative Guy Calderon told the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court that the police still think Tzignok came to the hospital to “finish the job,” as he called it, but they have no evidence, and the investigation is still underway.

Court vice-president Judge Noa Tavor accepted the request for release, but said that there were question marks. The victim, she said, was in greater danger from the suspect after his behavior in recent days, and there was reasonable likelihood of his guilt in both instances.

The prosecution said: “At this time there is no indication that the suspect intended to harm his wife, and we do not know what happened in the apartment that led to her injury. We cannot rule out that he came to the hospital to find out how she was doing. The release from detention has no effect on the decision of whether to file charges.

Attorneys Nir Alfasa and Dima Enkin, representing Tzignok, said their client denied any connection to his wife’s assault and was cooperating with the investigation. “He provided a reasonable explanation for coming to the hospital. We argue that he did not violate the conditions of his release and therefore his release is justified and we welcome it.”

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