Three of four suspects in Galilee teen’s murder released to their homes

Police official says release won’t change expected indictment of the trio as accessories in the murder of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub

Yara Ayoub, 16, from the Galilee village of Jish. (Hadashot screen capture)
Yara Ayoub, 16, from the Galilee village of Jish. (Hadashot screen capture)

Police on Wednesday released three of four suspects in the murder of a Galilee teenage girl whose death fueled a wave of women’s protests throughout the country.

Yara Ayoub, 16, was found dead in an alleyway in her hometown of Jish on November 26 after she had gone missing three days earlier.

The three suspects ordered released on Wednesday are the mother, father and brother of the primary suspect in the murder, a 28-year-old man from Jish.

Ayoub’s killing last month shocked the quiet village of some 3,000, leading local schools and businesses to close in protest.

Attorney Basel Falah, who represents the three family members released on Wednesday, praised the decision to release them, saying, “From the start I’ve said that there’s no evidence whatsoever against them.”

People cover the fresh grave of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub whose body was found after allegedly being murdered, at the cemetery in the northern village of Jish on November 27, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

A police official, however, told Channel 10 that their release from jail does not mean they will avoid an indictment as alleged accessories in the murder.

“The three suspects in the murder who are slated for release will still be charged and indicted going forward, even if they are not in custody, each according to their crimes,” the officer said.

Many of the details of the investigation, including the identities of the suspects, are under a court-imposed gag order for fear that their publication could hinder the investigation.

Nevertheless, police have released the suspects’ ages. The chief suspect is 28, his mother is 50, his father is 53 and his brother is 21.

The primary suspect is believed to be the last person to have seen Ayoub alive before she disappeared; and the father, according to media reports, is suspected of helping his son in an attempt to cover up the alleged murder.

The predominantly Christian village of Jish in the Galilee. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Ayoub was last seen on November 23 at 5 p.m. when she walked into a bakery in Jish. She disappeared after that, triggering a search in the village and neighboring region until her body was found in an alley next to a business establishment in the village on November 26.

Her death, along with that of 13-year-old Sylvana Tsegai in Tel Aviv — allegedly carried out by her mother’s former partner — led to a public outcry over government inaction on violence targeting women.

On December 4, thousands of women across the country went on strike, with marches and protest events held throughout the day.

12-year old Sylvana Tsegai, right, taking a selfie at a Christmas party organized by the Kuchinate collective, in south Tel Aviv, January 9, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin lent his support to the protest, tweeting photos of his wife Nechama Rivlin demonstrating alongside workers from the President’s Residence in the capital.

Demonstrators rallied in nearly every major town and city in the country, with protests in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Acre, Lod, Tira, Ashdod, Bat Yam, Beit Shemesh, Rehovot, Netanya, and Beit Jann, among others.

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