Israel Arrests Palestinian Teen After He Complains of Sexual Assault, Suspect Let Off

The Palestinian teenager, who crossed into Israel seeking work, was detained for illegal entry after he reported that his employer tried to rape him

Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia
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FILE PHOTO: Israeli man under arrest
Man under arrest (illustrative)Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia

A Palestinian teenager has been arrested for illegally entering Israel after he had complained of being sexually assaulted by his Palestinian employer on Israeli soil.

On Monday, the alleged attacker was released after he had been convicted of entering Israel illegally – serving a 30-day sentence in jail and paying a 1,000-shekel ($290) fine. The man, however, was not charged with sexual assault or sodomy because of the police's negligence, the teenager's attorney said.

About a month ago, the teenager crossed into Israel searching for work. Upon meeting his employer in southern Israel, his potential boss allegedly tried to rape the teenager. After a fight, the teenager managed to escape the grips of the man. He then spotted a police car and told the officers of the incident. The cops, however, apprehended him for entering Israel without a permit.

In a hearing to remand the teenager's detention, his lawyer, Alaa Tellawi, argued that the police have mishandled the case. According to the lawyer, police did not admit the teenager for treatment in a designated trauma room for sexual assault victims, and failed to notify his parents of his detention, as the law requires in the case of minors.

The court then released the teenager after the police representative failed to explain why he was not admitted to a trauma room to get medical and psychological attention.

“It’s outrageous and an embarrassment to the system,” Tellawi told the court at the hearing. “The police are violating the rights of a minor who lacks everything and who underwent attempted rape and sodomy.”

The lawyer told Haaretz that if proper procedure had been followed, the boy’s employer would have been charged with attempted rape. “There’s no complicated investigation here,” he said. “Everything was clear. Everything was [available]. The juvenile pointed out the suspect, brought the police to the site. All that was lacking was that they do was they were required to.”

Tellawi alleged that the police mishandled the case because the teenager was a Palestinian, and that they did not care about his well-being.

For their part, the police said that an investigation was opened “immediately upon receiving a report of a serious suspicion of the commission of a crime, when the suspect in the case was arrested, and his matter was referred in accordance with the findings to the prosecutor’s office for consideration and a decision.” After examining the case, the court ordered that the boy be returned home and the order was carried out, the police noted.

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