Jerusalem municipal worker charged with raping woman in public restroom

CCTV footage shows Mahmoud Tawil following victim into park bathroom, where he locks her in stall; suspect confesses to crime and to having attempted assaults on other women

Screen capture from video of Mahmoud Tawil during an incident when he allegedly raped a woman at a Jerusalem public restroom. (Channel 13. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Mahmoud Tawil during an incident when he allegedly raped a woman at a Jerusalem public restroom. (Channel 13. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A municipal bathroom sanitation worker has been charged with the rape of a woman in a restroom in broad daylight at a downtown Jerusalem park.

Mahmoud Tawil, a resident of East Jerusalem in his twenties, was indicted on charges of rape and false imprisonment. During his investigation, he admitted to having planned to carry out the crime for weeks, and that he had previously tried to assault other women in the capital, Channel 13 reported Wednesday.

“This incident is so cruel. I haven’t seen an incident like this in a long time,” Police Master Sergeant Meira Malka told the network.

The alleged rape happened three weeks ago at the Horse Park, a small park in the center of downtown Jerusalem. The woman had gone to donate blood nearby and afterward, at around 2 p.m., visited the park’s restroom.

Tawil was a contract worker for the municipality whose job was to clean the bathrooms at the Horse Park as well as those in nearby Independence Park.

CCTV footage showed Tawil following the woman into the bathroom.

Mahmoud Tawil, suspected of raping a woman in a Jerusalem public toilet. (Israel Police)

According to prosecutors, Tawil first asked to speak with her, telling her he was an orphan going through difficult times. He then implored her to give him a hug, which she refused, but he kept insisting until eventually she relented. At that point Tawil allegedly dragged the woman into a cubicle and locked the door, preventing her from leaving. CCTV footage appeared to show that the cubicle was a larger one intended for disabled people.

Tawil kept the woman there for half an hour while he raped her, the indictment said. Security film showed that during that time, people walked right past the restroom, apparently unaware of what was going on just a few meters away.

Tawil eventually let the woman go and gave her a cigarette. She was seen on camera leaving the bathroom, shaking, and then walking to a nearby bench, where she sat down. Tawil left after her, also smoking a cigarette.

“She came out, she started to understand what had happened to her, she was holding a cigarette and you can see her hand really shaking,” Malka said.

A few days later the woman filed a complaint with the police and Tawil was arrested shortly afterward.

According to prosecutors, Tawil had for weeks been planning to attack a Jewish woman. During his investigation, he admitted to forcing himself on the victim and said he had tried to sexually assault other women in the past.

“He said that he decided to do this whole thing once and for all by force,” Malka said.

Though Tawil has not also been charged with nationalist hate crimes, that is still under consideration, according to the report.

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