Over five years after his final conviction for the murder of 13-year-old Tair Rada, and after serving some 15 years in prison the Nazareth District Court ruled Tuesday that Roman Zadorov will be released under restrictive conditions while a retrial is held in his case.
Zadorov will be released under house arrest with electronic supervision and additional conditions such as supervision and a NIS 150,000 bail.
Judge Arafat Taha wrote in his decision that: “it was not the applicant who had to prove that he deserved release, but the state had to show that despite the passage of time, there are special circumstances that justify his continued detention behind bars. The state did not meet this burden.”
Zadorov’s defense attorney, Adv. Yarom Halevi, welcomed the decision and said he feels “great satisfaction.”
“You can imagine that the family was also waiting for it, Roman was waiting for it, I am waiting, and along with the great joy, my feet are planted deep in the ground. I have a goal and it is to exonerate Roman,” he stated.
Prosecuting attorney Sharon Har-Zion said they will decide whether to appeal after studying the decision, but they believe Zadorov to be dangerous.
“We believe that the accused is a danger and therefore it is fitting that he remains in remand until the end of proceedings,” Har-Zion said.
The State Attorney’s Office notified the Nazareth District Court in July that State Attorney Amit Isman has decided to re-conduct the trial for Zadorov, who is accused of the murder of Rada in 2006.
High Court of Justice Hanan Melcer ruled in May that there is a legal justification to examine the new evidence referred to by the defense and for a retrial.
The High Court of Justice convicted Zadorov in December 2015 of the murder of Tair Rada, seemingly putting an end to a controversial case that captured the public’s interest for years.
The verdict was not unanimous, with two judges out of the three rulings that Zadorov was guilty. A dissenting opinion accepted Zadorov’s appeal and ruled that there was too much doubt regarding the evidence to convict him.
Zadorov was charged with the 2006 murder of Rada, then an eighth-grader, who was brutally stabbed to death in a bathroom in her school in the city of Katzrin in the Golan Heights. The murderer then locked the stall from the inside and climbed out over the door.
Zadorov, an immigrant from Ukraine, had been working as a floorer in the school. He was arrested and charged for the murder even though no conclusive evidence was found against him. According to the indictment, Zadorov changed his clothes following the murder, cleaned the blood and replaced his knife’s blade.
In 2010, the Nazareth District Court first convicted Zadorov of the murder, a decision he appealed. In February of 2014 the court rejected the appeal, and again unanimously convicted him. He then appealed to the High Court, which convicted him for the third time.
Pieces of evidence presented over the years have cast doubt on whether Zadorov was the murderer. The most notable example is a report that the murder was committed using a serrated knife, while Zadorov had admitted to using a utility knife.
Ilana Rada, Tair’s mother, still doubts that Zadorov committed the murder, and many Israelis believe the authorities arrested the wrong man, and that the real murderer remains free.