Israeli Court Sentences Man to 14 Years for Gang Rape, Though He Didn't Rape Victim

Supreme court stiffens sentence from 11 years to 14 ■ Court said man played 'a dominant role' in abducting the woman and guarding the door while his friends raped her

Illustration, a man in chains
Olivier Fitoussi

The Supreme Court has stiffened the sentence of an Eritrean man convicted of involvement in a gang rape, even though he personally didn’t rape the woman.

The Central District Court in Lod had sentenced Kinde Tedesa to 11 years in prison, citing the fact that he refused to rape the woman himself as grounds for leniency. But the Supreme Court upped that to 14 years.

Justice David Mintz, with justices Neal Hendel and Alex Stein concurring, said the longer sentence was warranted because Tedesa, 26, played a significant role in the crime, including a “dominant role” in abducting the woman. Given that he “knew his friends were raping the complainant, and that he guarded the door to enable the rape to continue, he is considered to have jointly perpetrated the rape in every respect,” Mintz wrote.

The rape occurred in Rishon Letzion on the night of June 24, 2015. Tedesa and four friends saw a 31-year-old woman sitting outside a restaurant after getting drunk at a nearby pool hall and surrounded her. Tedesa sat on her lap, and his friends started touching her and urging her to go with them.

The five men eventually dragged her by force to an apartment above the restaurant, where they place her on the bed and left. Two of them then came in one at a time to rape her, even though she screamed for help. Altogether, the rape lasted about an hour and 40 minutes.

Tedesa was charged with kidnapping, rape and sexual assault, as were the other four. But he was tried separately, and during his trial, the question arose as to whether his acts constituted actual rape or merely abetting a rape.

The district court said that since he knew his friends intended rape when they kidnapped the woman, and also knew that rape was occurring while he guarded the door, he was guilty of actual rape. But in light of the fact that he didn’t have sex with the woman, it rejected the prosecution’s request for a 24-year sentence, instead sentencing him to 11 years plus 80,000 shekels ($21,000) in compensation.

The prosecution then appealed the leniency of the sentence, and the Supreme Court agreed that it was insufficient.

“Watching the footage from the security cameras, which was attached to the appeal, is chilling and rouses extremely difficult emotions,” Mintz wrote. “The footage shows the complainant being led with failing strength to the room where the group carried out its plot. Her drunkenness and her many attempts to escape exhausted her, but she nevertheless continued resisting with the last of her strength.”

He also noted that Tedesa had failed to accept responsibility for his actions.

The cases of the other four men are still pending.