Two Holon Men Charged in Severe Hotel Beating Over Debt

Two Holon men were charged yesterday with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit crime in an alleged attack in January on a resident of Bat Yam. David Ajami and Ro'i Nir, both 29, were indicted in Tel Aviv District Court for beating up Ya'ish Furtal at his place of residence, Mercure Suites Bat-Yam, allegedly over a debt he owed to them. Nine of Furtal's teeth "were removed and fell out," according to the charge sheet.

Ajami and Nir were arrested in the course of an unrelated murder investigation after electronic surveillance of their cell phones placed them in the vicinity of the hotel. Images captured by security cameras also aided in the investigation.

According to the indictment on January 26 Ajami and Nir, together with several other men, went to Furtal's room on the 16th floor of the hotel. The defendants and five other perpetrators brutally beat Furtal, causing bleeding and extensive bruising as well as the loss of the teeth, as he called for help and pleaded with his attackers, saying, "I didn't do anything." Two of Furtal's teeth were later found on the scene. Accordins are then alleged to have been involved in forcefully assaulting Furtal on his body and in his face, while the victim called for help, pleading "I didn't do anything."

A hotel security officer told police that he went to the 16th floor after becoming suspicious of the group of men. He said he heard Furtal screaming but left the floor when he noticed that the elevator was being guarded by a member of the group.

The security officer called police and the Magen David Adom rescue service when he realized that he could not deal with the situation on his own. In the interim, the assailants and their associates left the hotel.

Furtal was taken to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, but he left before his treatment was done. He declined to provide details about the incident, apparently out of fear, and told police that he had inflicted the injuries on himself.

Police investigating the murder of Mor Algrabli, also in Bat Yam, arrested Ajami and Nir. Officers say that a call was placed from Ajami's cell phone two days before the assault to Furtal and demanding money. They also say that on the evening of the assault they recorded Ajami talking on his phone and saying that Furtal needed to be given "a few slaps," and that about an hour after the assault he was heard breathing heavily into the phone while attempting to arrange a getaway for himself and another suspect. They says that Nir was also overheard on the phone trying to arrange an escape from the scene of the assault.

Only one other suspect has been identified in the assault. He is still at large. The identities of the perpetrators are not known.

The defense attorneys said their clients deny the charges, although Ajami's lawyer said his client admitted being at the hotel on the evening of the incident.