President Rivlin Intervenes in Case of Woman Who Killed Husband After Years of Abuse

Jonathan Lis
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President Reuven Rivlin
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner / AP
Jonathan Lis

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday ordered the Israel Prison Service’s parole board to convene six months earlier than planned for the hearing of Dalal Daoud, who murdered her husband in 1997 after years of abuse, on the assumption she will be released from prison.

Rivlin’s office issued a statement saying the material shown him portrayed “a harsh picture of a woman who for many years was the victim of serious and ongoing violence from her partner.” Daoud was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002.

Rivlin preferred not to pardon Daoud, because freeing her through the parole board will provide her with professional services to help her readjust to society after 15 years in prison.

In January 1997, the body of Daoud’s husband was found in a dumpster in Abu Snan, northern Israel, where the couple lived.

The two were married for five years, during which Dalal filed six domestic violence complaints with police, but most of the cases were closed for lack of public interest.

Daoud denied murdering her husband and Haifa District Court exonerated her, citing lack of evidence connecting her directly to the killing.

But the state appealed to the Supreme Court, and in 2002 she was convicted by justices Edmund Levy, Mishael Cheshin and Miriam Naor, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Requests for presidential clemency were denied, but her sentence was commuted to 25 years.

Daoud submitted a request for a retrial two years ago, arguing the previous trial had failed to take into account the extensive history of abuse.

In the request, she admitted for the first time that she had caused her husband’s death, but argued he had repeatedly beaten and raped her, even when she was pregnant or right after she gave birth. She wanted the charge to be reduced to manslaughter.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein refused her request, writing that while Daoud had certainly suffered grave abuse, “It’s understood that we cannot let someone who took a human life get off without serious punishment.”

Meretz MKs Zehava Galon, Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg issued a response to Rivlin’s decision, saying, “An act of kindness and justice was performed today by President Rivlin when he decided to ease the punishment of lifer Dalal Daoud."

“Women like Dalal who are victims of violence, rape and neglect need rehabilitation, not years in prison,” they added.

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