Topaz 'Hit Men' Sentenced to Jail for Attacks on TV Executives

The Tel Aviv District Court handed down sentences Monday to four people involved in attacks on media executives at the behest of late entertainer Dudu Topaz.

Daniel Zanko, who mediated between Topaz and the people who attacked deputy director of Channel 2 franchisee Reshet and actors' agent Boaz Ben Zion received three years in prison plus six months of a suspended sentence, compensation of NIS 20,000 to each of the people attacked and a fine of NIS 3,000.

The other three received sentences ranging from three months of community service to 33 months in prison. The four were convicted after confessing to their crimes as part of a plea deal.

Topaz, once known as Israel's rating's king, hanged himself in prison last August after being jailed in connection to the attacks.

The court sentenced Sliman Hiadra, who attacked Reshet vice president Shira Margalit, 33 months in prison and another 18 months suspended, a fine of NIS 3,000 and compensation of NIS 5,000.

Noam Awami, who attacked Keshet head Avi Nir, was handed two years in prison and 15 months suspended imprisonment. The judge noted that without a plea bargain it would have been appropriate to have imposed a far more severe punishment.

Ayman Zbaideh, who drove Hiadra to the attack in his vehicle, was punished with three months of community service, a suspended sentence of six months in prison, compensation of NIS 25,000 to Margalit and a fine of NIS 3,000.

"The accused must be punished in a way that sends a real message of deterrence," said Judge Chaled Kabub, "which will make the gravity of their acts clear to the guilty parties and to others, as considerable physical and emotional damage was caused to the complainants through no fault of their own, damage that has left them with real scars."