At least 6 to be charged over alleged Eilat gang rape of 16-year-old

Police say five of the suspects are minors; some expected to be indicted on rape charges, others for failure to prevent a crime

Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)

Six people — five minors and one adult — will be charged in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl earlier this month in an Eilat hotel, police said in a statement on Sunday, as reports indicated additional suspects would face indictment at a later date.

Police will ask for the detention of the six suspects to be extended at a hearing at the Ashkelon District Court. Additionally, two other adult suspects will face a hearing for their remand to be extended on Tuesday, Hebrew-language media reported.

There was no information given on the charges the suspects would face.

According to the Ynet news site, it was expected that at least four of the suspects would be charged with rape — two 27-year-old men from the northern city of Hadera and two 17-year-old brothers from the south of the country. Only one adult was expected to be charged early this week, according to police, with the others expected to be indicted at a later date.

A suspect (behind, with head covered) arrives at court for a remand hearing in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old in Eilat, August 27, 2020 (Screen grab/Channel 13 news)

Other suspects could face trial for failing to intervene to prevent a crime.

The Israel Police announced Thursday that investigators had found the teenage victim’s version of events to be credible and that 17 suspects in the case had been identified, 14 of whom have been arrested.

Ten of the arrested suspects are minors. Five suspects have been released from custody under restrictive conditions, with the rest remanded by the court.

“Investigators managed to reconstruct the timeline of events at the Red Sea Hotel and reach all the suspects involved in the case of the 16-year-old girl’s rape,” police said.

“The victim’s testimony was found to be reliable and has been strengthened by the evidence,” police added.

The case shocked the country and spurred calls for reforms, as testimony indicated that a group of men lined up outside the intoxicated girl’s hotel room, waiting their turn to rape her, as eyewitnesses failed to intervene.

Channel 13 reported that police investigators believe 10 people had been in the room at the same time during the rape. The network quoted the victim’s family expressing relief that the investigation was over relatively quickly, and thanking the investigators. It said the girl herself was “stunned” to hear the news.

Also Thursday, a key suspect in the alleged gang rape denied any wrongdoing, while police said he admitted to filming the assault.

The manager of the Red Sea Hotel, where the alleged assault took place, was questioned and placed under arrest last week on suspicion of failing to prevent a crime and interfering in a police investigation. She was later released to house arrest.

Israelis take part in a demonstration in support of the 16 year old victim of an alleged gang rape in Eilat, in Tel Aviv. August 20, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A senior police official told Channel 12 last week that investigators have evidence that strengthens the 16-year-old victim’s claims.

“This whole case is based on her testimony and this testimony is supported, among other things, by the findings we have collected so far,” he said.

The official said the evidence indicates the alleged attack went on for a long time, and the investigators have sensitive material they are not willing to reveal yet.

“This is a shocking rape that went on for many hours,” he said.

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