A court on Tuesday ordered a man accused of killing an immigrant in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona last year released to house arrest, rebuffing pleas from the victim’s family.
Liad Edri, 21, was indicted in November for killing Yoel Lhanghal, 18, during a brawl at a birthday party in Kiryat Shmona the month before. Edri allegedly fatally stabbed Lhanghal, a resident of Nof Hagalil who was visiting a friend and fellow immigrant from India, after claims that Lhanghal was abusing his own girlfriend.
Judge Arafat Taha of the Nazareth District Court ruled that Edri would be sent to house arrest at the home of relatives in Kiryat Ata and required to wear a monitoring device.
The judge, who has previously questioned the strength of the evidence against Edri, also barred him from using electronic devices and required him to post NIS NIS 150,000 in bail.
“An injustice was done to Liad. He’s a victim in this case,” his lawyer was quoted as saying by the Ynet news site.
Edri’s release will be delayed by 48 hours to give prosecutors a chance to appeal.
Lhanghal’s parents protested the decision, accusing Edri of being the ringleader in the stabbing.
“We had a happy life and the murderer Edri destroyed it,” Gideon and Batsheva Lhanghal told the judge, according to the Walla news site.
“If he is released to house arrest, it will endanger us and our children. He’s dangerous,” Gideon Lhanghal added.
Edri, who denies wrongdoing, is the only suspect to be charged with murdering Lhanghal. Three police officers have been indicted for obstructing justice.
According to police probe into the stabbing incident, officers initially arrived at the party in response to a call they received from guests claiming Lhanghal was abusing his girlfriend.
When officers arrived, they found that it was untrue and were instead required to break up a fight between Lhanghal and other guests at the party. After telling Lhanghal and the others to keep their distance from one another, police said they believed the issue was resolved and left the scene.
Soon after they departed, the brawl resumed and Lhanghal was fatally stabbed.
Northern District Police chief Shuki Tahauko also recommended the removal of the Kiryat Shmona police chief, Nir Sasson, over the incident. Sasson’s deputy has received a reprimand in his permanent record.
Lhanghal was a member of the Bnei Menashe Jewish community from a remote area of northeastern India.
Initial reports suggested that the attack may have been racially motivated, but the reported expected charges did not reflect that.
The Bnei Menashe are believed to be descended from the biblical tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago. In 2005, then-Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amar endorsed the Bnei Menashe’s claim to Jewish ancestry but required them to convert to Judaism.
Some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel in recent years, with another 7,000 remaining in India.