Four Men Get Heavy Sentences for Rape, Kidnap of 4 Women, Girls

Heaviest sentence is a 20-year jail term; convictions are in framework of plea bargain.

The Haifa District Court on Monday handed down heavy sentences for four men from the village of Bir al-Maksour in the Galilee, convicted of raping and kidnapping four young hitchhikers from the north.

The four were also convicted - in the framework of a plea bargain - of conspiring to commit crimes. The acts attributed to them took place between December 2005 and November 2006.

The harshest sentence handed down is for 20 years in prison and a three- year suspended sentence for Salem Hujeirat. His cousin, Ala Hujeirat, was given 15 years in jails and a three-year suspended sentence. Ruhi Hujeirat and Mohammed Radir received nine years in jail and a three-year suspended sentence each.

The court also ordered the men to pay a total of NIS 190,000 to the complainants.

The indictment against the men charges them with the rape of a female soldier kidnapped at knifepoint and three other kidnappings - of a 16-year-old girl in Kiryat Bialik, a 26-year-old woman from a bus station near Bir al-Maksour and a 13-year-old girl.

The verdicts in the cases of two other suspects in the crimes will be handed down later on.