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State may free felons to find Majdi Halabi´s body (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 04/23/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=267218 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A prisoner serving a double life sentence for two homicides is claiming to know the burial spot of a missing IDF soldier, and has offered to draw a map of the body´s location in exchange for money.

The bizarre episode began several months ago, when the prisoner, Mordechai Moshe, convicted of murdering one man over a financial dispute, and a neighbor he suspected of stealing from him, turned to two fellow prisoners at the maximum security Shate prison near Bet She´an, in northern Israel.

Moshe, who is appealing his conviction at the High Court, told Amos Nahum, convicted of murder, and Elias Dali, convicted of international narcotics smuggling, that he could shorten their sentences by passing them information on the burial spot of the Druse- Israeli soldier Majdi Halabi, who went missing missing from his town of Daliat al-Carmel in 2005. According to the deal between the prisoners, the two prisoners would pass on Moshe´s information to the state, and would be pardoned as a result.

"Moshe realized he could not receive a pardon in exchange for the information because of the severity of his sentence, but he asked the two prisoners for tens of thousands of shekels to hire a private lawyer," Boaz Kenig, a Tel Aviv-based criminal attorney who is representing all three prisoners, told The Jerusalem Post.

Moshe had been represented by a public defendant until then, and could not afford a private attorney.

All three prisoners then met with Kenig to draw up the details of the offer to the state. "One of the prisoners got a special holiday to visit me," Kenig said, noting the seriousness with which authorities were treating the claim.

Asked if he was convinced whether Mordechai did indeed know the whereabouts of the soldier´s body, the attorney said it was not his job to be convinced, adding that he represented felons as part of his profession. Nevertheless, he added, "my intuition says there is something to this [claim]." Moshe has not indicated how he came to know the information he claims to possess.

In the months that followed, state prosecutors signed a tentative deal with one of the prisoners, Amos Nahum, according to which Nahum and Dali would both be pardoned if credible information was received and the body was found.

"Both of the prisoners [Nahum and Dali] are in the final third of their sentences. Both are aware of the importance of this, and are very interested in getting hold of the map," Kenig said.

In addition to his private arrangement with the two fellow prisoners, Moshe is also demanding hundreds of thousands of shekels from the state, a demand which is still being negotiated.

Prosecutors are now questioning the prisoners in an effort to complete the transfer of information.

Although Kenig did not disclose the identify of the missing soldier, the family of Majdi Halabi said they had been contacted by the Defense Ministry with details of the latest developments, adding that they are anxiously waiting to see whether the episode will lead to the discovery of their son´s body.

Majdi Halabi set out from his home in Daliat al-Carmel to an IDF base in Haifa in 2007. His last known steps are ordinary: He withdrew money at a local ATM machine, and purchased a drink at a kiosk. After that, Halabi disappeared.

Posters offering cash awards are hanging in Daliat al-Carmel pleading for information on the soldier.

It remains whether Moshe is really in possession of the information he claims to hold. State prosecutors have conditioned all aspects of the arrangement on the finding of the body. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/23/12)

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