State to pay NIS 2.2m for wrongful indictment in Tel Aviv gay club shooting
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State to pay NIS 2.2m for wrongful indictment in Tel Aviv gay club shooting

Hagai Felician spent eight months in jail before charges against him were dropped and he was released

Hagai Felician, who in 2013 was declared a suspect in the deadly 2009 Bar Noar shooting in Tel Aviv, but whose case was dropped after a key witness against him was determined to have lied. (Flash90)
Hagai Felician, who in 2013 was declared a suspect in the deadly 2009 Bar Noar shooting in Tel Aviv, but whose case was dropped after a key witness against him was determined to have lied. (Flash90)

The State of Israel will pay NIS 2.2 million (approx. $580,000) in compensation to the family of a man who spent eight months in jail on suspicion of committing a deadly 2009 shooting spree at a gay youth club in Tel Aviv.

The charges against Hagai Felician were later dropped entirely and he was released.

Felician was indicted in July 2013 for murder and attempted murder in what the prosecution called a hate crime. Two people were killed and 11 injured in the attack at Tel Aviv’s Bar Noar center.

Felician initially confessed to carrying out the attack to an undercover officer placed in his jail cell, after he was implicated by a state’s witness. According to the indictment, Felician also told the officer he had carried out the shooting “because of the biblical edict to attack homosexuals.”

A man mourns the dead in the Bar Noar shooting in Tel Aviv, August 2, 2009 (photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash90)
A man mourns the dead in the Bar Noar shooting in Tel Aviv, August 2, 2009 (photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Police later came to suspect the testimony given by the state’s witness against Felician was false. The charges against Felician were subsequently dropped entirely. He cannot be tried a second time, even if new evidence surfaces tying him to the case.

Instead, the prosecution decided to indict the state’s witness who testified against Felician on charges of obstruction of justice and giving false testimony.

Felician’s brother Moti said he believed the witness was the one who sent the murderer to the club.

“He knows exactly who the murderer is,” Moti Felician said. “He caught an innocent victim and proof of that is that ultimately they didn’t believe him.”

The investigation into the attack was the most expensive in the history of the Israel Police, with authorities questioning over 1,000 people.

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