Suspect in Gang Rape of Soldier Detained 17 Years After Fleeing Israel

Shachar Mizrahi, who fled during his trial in 1999, was arrested after returning to Israel with a fake passport

File photo: An Israeli soldier is seen in silhouette.
Ilan Assayag

Military police detained on Thursday a man suspected of involvement in the 1999 gang rape of a soldier at a basic training base, 17 years after he fled the country. 

Shachar Mizrahi and three other soldiers were charged with serious sex offenses, including gang rape and severe abuse of a male comrade at gunpoint. Mizrahi fled the country 17 years ago while standing trial. He was arrested after recently arriving in Israel with a fake passport and his remand was extended by three days.

Mizrahi's escape obstructed trial proceedings, which resulted in the acquittal of two of the defendants. A third defendant, Yonatan Kirshblum, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

Mizrahi is expected to face charges of obstruction of justice and fleeing the country while standing trial, in addition to his prior charges. The Israel Defense Forces said the complainant has been notified about Mizrahi's arrest.  

According to the indictment, the complainant returned to the tent he was sleeping in during his basic training and encountered a group of soldiers he hadn't seen before, including Mizrahi.

The soldiers began cursing at him, physically assaulting and forcing sexual acts on him, the indictment says.

"I entered the tent and there were four of them," the indictment quoted the soldier as saying. "At first they only cursed at me, but when they realized I wasignoring them they started beating and abusing me. I cried and shouted, but no one heard me. They stopped after about half an hour and told me nobody would believe me and that if I told what happened."