Trial Begins for Rishon Le-zion Killer

Trial proceedings began Tuesday in Tel Aviv District Court for Ami Popper, the self-confessed killer of seven Palestinian day laborers in Rishon le-Zion on May 20. Ten others were wounded in the assault.

Judge Arye Even-Ari ordered Popper detained in custody until the end of the hearings, but told his attorney, David Ofek, that he could appeal against the continued detention without having to present new evidence.

Popper underwent extensive psychiatric tests and on Monday was deemed fit to stand trial.

The state prosecution told the court that Popper had on three separate occasions confessed to the murders and attempted murders, and had cooperated with the police in a videotaped reconstruction of the shooting attack on the Arab laborers, who were awaiting work in Israel in a field on the outskirts of Rishon le-Zion.

The prosecution noted that the accused had been examined by five psychiatrists, all of whom had found him fit to stand trial. But his attorney told the court he would request further psychiatric examinations.

Popper was brought to the court under heavy police guard and protection. Unlike previous court appearances, when he had appeared at ease and smiling, this time he was tense and nervous.

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