State may free felons to find Majdi Halabi´s body (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN 04/23/12)
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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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