The police arrested three male residents of Jaffa late Saturday night on suspicion that they assaulted and robbed three gay men out of homophobic motives outside a club in Tel Aviv, although the police added that the motives in the case are not entirely clear.
The three suspects, who were ordered held in custody throughout Sunday by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, claim they are the actual victims in the case and were attacked because they are Arab.
The suspects allegedly attacked the three gay men, beating one of them severely, injuring his throat and dislocating his shoulder, the police said, while another alleged victim suffered a broken nose. Police said the possibility that the assault was a homophobic hate crime is just one line of inquiry in the investigation. They suspect that a fourth man may have taken part in the incident and are searching for him.
The alleged attack took place outside a club in south Tel Aviv at about 4 A.M. late Saturday. The suspects allegedly stole a bag from one of the victims after they left the club. Security guards from the club intervened and put a stop to the incident.
The police said the case did not involve a fight between the two groups but an attack by one group on the other. The purported victims told the police that they were only defending themselves and that their assailants had taunted them because of their sexual orientation.
For their part, however, the suspects deny robbing their alleged victims. One suspect said he was injured when police officers attacked him. The police said they would investigate the claims. The suspects’ lawyers said at most this involved a fight outside of the club and not a robbery.
In an unrelated case, prosecutors informed the court that they plan on filing criminal charges against two main suspects who are believed to have attacked, robbed and beaten a transgender woman in Tel Aviv two months ago. In that case, prosecutors said the suspects set up a meeting with the transgender woman for sex for a fee and that, when they arrived, they attacked her and stole her bag, which contained cash and the keys to her home. They then allegedly used the keys to enter her home and stole about 50,000 shekels ($13,800).
The woman filed a complaint with the police that same night. One suspect denied knowing her while the second said she was so drunk that she was nearly unconscious. The police said they have indirect evidence that the two knew the woman, and that the suspects had corresponded with her. They were arrested following an undercover investigation after they returned to Israel from overseas.
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