Police Arrest Jaffa Palestinians Suspected in Rape of Handicapped Woman

Victim says two attackers sexually assaulted her while a third filmed the incident, though police say her intellectual disability makes it difficult to determine facts of the case.

Arrest (illustration)
Olivier Fitoussi

Two Palestinians, a man and a minor, were arrested recently after a young woman told police they raped her in Jaffa about two weeks ago.

The woman, who is 20 and has an intellectual disability, told investigators the suspects gang-raped her while calling out racial slurs and that they also urinated on her. She said a third man, who remains at large, filmed the attack.

The victim told detectives the alleged assault took place near the apartment building where the suspects live, and which is also home to relatives of the victim.

The police representative who attended yesterday’s custody hearing told the court the suspects threatened to rape the woman’s aunt and kill her brothers if she told anyone about the rape.

Police sources cautioned that because of the woman’s difficulty in expressing herself as a result of her disability, officers have not yet determined the facts of the case. Sources close to the investigation say some of the evidence and statements collected from the suspects and the woman contradict at least part of her version of events. These include a photograph of the suspects and the alleged victim together taken some time ago, even though she told investigators she didn’t know her attackers. But there were also many inconsistencies in the suspects’ statements, the sources said.

In ordering the suspects to remain in custody until at least Monday, Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz said the standard of reasonable suspicion was met. She cited the allegation of a “serious and protracted incident involving multiple assailants and verbal abuse of a racist nature.”

The public defender who is representing the minor said his client, who has no criminal record, claims the complaint was false and stemmed from a neighbors’ dispute aimed at forcing him to move because he’s an Arab.