Police investigating the 2009 double murder at the Tel Aviv gay youth club Bar Noar said Thursday that a prominent LGBT activist, believed to be the intended target of the attack, has been accused of attempted rape.
According to a report in Israel Radio, a transsexual woman told police that the attack took place in the activist’s home 10 years ago and that she decided to file a complaint after seeing his name and photo on the Internet.
The accuser said that the activist, who is well known in Israel’s LGBT circles but whose name has been placed under gag order, tried to rape her when she was still a man.
The case’s prime murder suspect, Haggai Felician, was reportedly caught on tape telling a police informant that he carried out the murderous attack at the club — which killed two people and wounded 11 others — because his 15-year-old relative had been sexually assaulted by the LGBT activist.
Felician, who is in police custody, was surreptitiously taped by a state informant discussing the shooting, saying, “We did it smoothly, no one found out, it was quiet for four years.”
The police have reportedly offered the activist immunity if he confesses to the sexual molestation, which would in turn establish a motive for Felician’s rampage. It is not clear, however, if the deal would protect the activist from indictment on new complaints like the one lodged Wednesday.
Complicating matters, Felician’s relative, now 19 years old, denies he was ever molested.
Last Wednesday, four suspects were arrested in connection with the case: Felician, his relative, another accomplice, and the senior LGBT activist, whom the first three allegedly set out to kill.
On Tuesday, the court approved for publication Felician’s name and that of an accomplice, Tarlan Hankishayev, 26, both from the Pardes Katz neighborhood in Bnei Brak.
The court did not lift the gag order on the names of the intended target or the relative of the shooter.
The arrest of Felician and his suspected accomplices marked a breakthrough in a case that had police stumped for almost four years. Until their identity and motives were known, police treated the case as a possible hate crime or terror attack.
Police were finally able to make headway in their investigation four months ago, when another person who was reportedly involved in planning the attack surrendered himself to police and turned state’s witness.
The witness told police that he was aware that the suspects intended to harm the alleged sexual molester, but not that they intended to kill him.
Asher Zeiger and Lazar Berman contributed to this report.