The perpetrator of a rape that shocked many Israelis last year was sentenced by the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday to 30 years behind bars and ordered to pay compensation to both the male and female victims of his crime.
Ahmed Bani Jaber, 21, a Palestinian from Nablus, was convicted of a violent attack that occurred in a public restroom in a parking lot beneath Gani Ha’ir in central Tel Aviv in May 2012. Jaber was also ordered to pay NIS 250,000 ($69,000) to each of his victims.
The sentence is one of the most severe ever given for a sex crime in Israel and among the longest possible for the offense.
Jaber pleaded guilty to forcing a 17-year old girl and her 18-year old boyfriend into the the restroom at knifepoint. Over a period of two hours he forced the terrified victims to have sex as he watched, before raping and sodomizing the female victim.
Jaber was arrested at a nearby restaurant a few days after the crime and was convicted on the strength of DNA evidence that put him at the scene. Initially Jaber, who at the time of the rape was illegally residing in Israel, claimed he was only trying to steal the couple’s cellphones, but he later confessed in a deal that made a conviction possible without requiring the victims to undergo the trauma of testifying in court.
In their decision, the judges said that Jaber’s act was “sadistic” and “despicable.” The judges added that through his actions “social values had been brutally trampled.”
“I feel a great relief that at last this nightmare is over and I can begin a new stage of returning to nomal life,” the female victim said in a statement delivered through her attorney, Roni Sedovnik.
In a letter to the court during the trial, which was held behind closed doors, the girl requested that the crime be considered an act of terror as well as a rape.
“It went beyond rape, I cannot contain this suffering,” she wrote. “He humiliated me as a woman and as a Jew.”
If the Defense Ministry recognizes the attack on the female victim as an act of terror, she will be eligible for state compensation.