The Israel Prisons Service parole board on Tuesday turned down a request for early release from a man who has already served 39 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy.
The board deliberated over the case for some six hours before deciding to turn down Zvi Gur, who was sent to prison in 1980 for kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Oron Yarden.
The full text of the board decision will be published at a later date.
A 2017 parole board granted Gur release but the Lod District Court overturned the decision on the grounds that proper weight had not been given to the gravity of the crime and its unusually cruel circumstances.
In its appeal against the original 2017 decision to release Gur, the State Attorney’s Office said that the massive outcry over the murder of Yarden hadn’t died down even after all those years.
Gur, who was 33 at the time he committed the murder, was originally sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 34 years for kidnapping and blackmail. His sentence was subsequently commuted to a total of 45 years in 1999 by then-president Ezer Weizman.
An illustrator of children’s books, Gur demanded and received a ransom of 2 million Israeli shekels ($9,400 at the time, or about NIS 106,000 or $30,000 in today’s money) for Yarden. He was captured two weeks later, when he deposited the money in a bank account and a teller recognized the serial numbers on the bills, which had been marked. After his capture, Gur showed police where he had buried Yarden’s body, in Netanya.
He gave several different explanations for the boy’s death, claiming initially that he had suffocated in the car. He subsequently claimed the abduction was ordered by the head of a crime organization and that she was the one who had killed Yarden.
Due to his model behavior in Ayalon Prison, Gur was allowed to paint unsupervised on the outer walls of the prison, and managed to flee in 1985. He was captured six days later after a massive manhunt.