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Top court stops convicted killer Zadorov’s release to house arrest until Tuesday

Justices are set to give a final decision on the matter next week, as Roman Zadorov is set for a retrial in murder of young girl

Roman Zadorov is seen an an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court in jerusalem, on August 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Roman Zadorov is seen an an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court in jerusalem, on August 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled on Friday that the planned release to house arrest of Roman Zadorov, currently awaiting a retrial in the murder of a 13-year-old schoolgirl, will be delayed until at least Tuesday.

Zadorov is set to be tried again on the basis of new evidence, after more than a decade behind bars for the 2006 murder of Tair Rada, which he maintains he did not commit.

The Nazareth District Court on Wednesday had okayed Zadorov’s release to house arrest with electronic monitoring, but prosecutors had appealed the move, saying that he was a flight risk as well as a danger to the public, and should therefore remain behind bars until the end of proceedings against him.

High Court justice Alex Stein on Friday immediately dismissed the possibility of Zadorov fleeing, and allowed the discussion regarding his danger to society to continue. There was no immediate decision on the matter, but the court okayed keeping him behind bars until at least Tuesday. By then, a final decision will be made ahead of Zadorov’s retrial.

Supreme court justice Alex Stein at an appeal hearing for the release of Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on August 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last month, the State Prosecutor’s Office announced a retrial for Zadorov, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Rada, despite his repeated assertions that he had been wrongly convicted.

Rada was found dead in a bathroom stall in her school, in Katzrin in the Golan Heights, in 2006, with slashes to her neck, stab wounds across her body and severe blows to her head.

Tair Rada. (YouTube screenshot)

Rada’s murder case has long gripped the country, both due to the brutal way in which she was killed and the continuing claims by some that it was not Zadorov who committed the murder.

Shortly after the murder, Zadorov, who was employed at the school at the time as a maintenance worker, was arrested and charged with the killing.

Two weeks after his arrest, police announced that Zadorov had confessed to Rada’s murder and reenacted the attack for investigators. But a day later, Zadorov’s defense attorney announced that his client had recanted, claiming his confession and reenactment were coerced and included incorrect information.

In 2010, nearly four years after he was arrested, the Nazareth District Court sentenced him to life in prison.

Olga Zadorov, the wife of Roman Zadorov, at a appeal hearing for the release of Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, on August 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

His lawyers, along with thousands of vocal members of the public, insist that Zadorov was framed for an act he didn’t commit and that the real murderer was Olga Kravchenko, whose identity was initially gagged by a court order and was referred to as “O.K.”

Following a DNA analysis by investigators, the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute announced in 2018 that a hair found on Rada’s body did not belong to Zadorov but instead matched that of a former boyfriend of Kravchenko, reigniting speculation over the killing.

In 2019, Zadorov’s attorney Yoram Halevi filed a request for a trial with the Supreme Court, claiming the existence of “a lot of new evidence that proves unequivocally that Roman did not murder the deceased and could not have murdered the deceased.”

Yarom Halevi, attorney of convicted murderer Roman Zadorov, seen at a court hearing at the District Court in Nazareth, on August 3, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Supreme Court previously rejected the former boyfriend’s testimony about Kravchenko, while police concluded that his version was unreliable and an attempt to frame his former lover, the Ynet news site reported in 2018.

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