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Photo: Shaul Golan
Photo reproduction: Raanan Ben-Zur
Zehava Chakol
Photo reproduction: Raanan Ben-Zur
Court rules footballer suspected of murder remain in custody
District Court overrules previous decision to release to house arrest footballer suspected in murder of 20-year-old woman in Netanya; 'No probable cause for arrest,' his lawyer objects

The Lod District Court accepted on Friday the police appeal and will not release to house arrest the foreign footballer suspected in the murder of Zehava Chakol, 20, from Netanya.

 

The judge overturned the Magistrate's Court ruling, saying the suspect's foreign nationality may induce him to escape. The suspect will remain in custody at least until Wednesday.

 

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Thursday the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court ordered the footballer be released to house arrest so he may attend a football match on Saturday after his lawyer claimed it is "an important game."


זהבה צ'קול (צילום רפורודוקציה: רענן בן צור)

Zehava Chakol (Photo reproduction: Raanan Ben-Zur)

 

The court has put a gag-order on the footballer's details following his and his friend's arrest for the murder of Chakol, whose body was found below the city's Carmel Hotel where the footballer resides.  


מתאבלים על מותה (צילום: איתן גליקמן "ידיעות אחרונות")

The family in mourning (Photo: Eitan Glickman, Yedioth Aharonoth)

 

The autopsy report revealed the cause of death to be strangulation, eliminating previous suspicions the case may be a suicide.

 

The footballer and his friend, a Congo national, were arrested Wednesday night and have both denied the allegations.

 

The footballer admitted he knew the victim through his friend, adding that Chakol visited them in their shared apartment, but denied any involvement beyond a passing acquaintance.

 

Chakol's presence, he claimed, even caused some difficulty with his wife. "When I talked with my wife on Skype she saw her and was angered. I explained I have nothing to do with her," the footballer claimed.

 

His lawyer noted that his client hasd an alibi and spent most of the day out of the hotel.

 

"The court clearly stated there is no probable cause. They decided not to release him because he's a football player," said Attorney Guy Ben Zvi.

 

"It's true that the ruling also enabled him to play, but the court said nothing about him being a football player.

 

"It's clear to everyone that even if it was about Maradona or Messi the court wouldn't release them if there was evidence against them.

 

"The fact that he saw her 24 hours before the incident isn't cause for arrest," the lawyer explained, adding that his client is in shock.

 

"He doesn't understand what is going on. He was just trying to help a friend and housed him in his apartment. If anyone's involved in this, it's the other guy."

 

Knesset Member Pnina Tamano Shata (Yesh Atid) also attended the court proceedings and objected to the footballer's release. A translator translating the debate for the suspect commented that he is "surprised by the arrest."

 

 

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