Palestinian accused of teen’s rape-murder to undergo psychiatric evaluation

After a lower court rejected request, judge is said to approve examination for Arafat Irfaiya, who has admitted to killing Ori Ansbacher

Arafat Irfaiya, charged with the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, at the Jerusalem Magistrate's court on February 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Arafat Irfaiya, charged with the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, at the Jerusalem Magistrate's court on February 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Palestinian man accused of raping and murdering Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher in February will reportedly undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Arafat Irfaiya has been charged with terror offenses in the murder of Ori Ansbacher in a Jerusalem forest. On April 19, Israeli security forces demolished his home in the West Bank city of Hebron.

A discussion in the case is scheduled for next week, but is now expected to be pushed off after the Jerusalem District Court two weeks ago approved an examination of Irfaiya’s mental health, the Walla news site reported Monday. The case will resume once the results are in.

Irfaiya’s lawyer has been arguing that his client is mentally ill. However, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge who presided over his initial remand hearing rejected the request for a psychiatric evaluation.

The High Court of Justice had used that fact to reject a petition against demolishing his home, saying no material had been filed that indicates mental problems.

Ori Ansbacher, who was murdered in Jerusalem February 7, 2019 (Courtesy)

Prosecutors have charged Irfaiya, 29, with rape and murder in the context of a terrorist act for killing 19-year-old Ansbacher, from the settlement of Tekoa, on February 7.

According to the March 7 indictment, Irfaiya entered Israel from the West Bank illegally in early February and was armed with a knife.

On the day of the killing, Ansbacher, who was a volunteer at a youth center in the capital, went for a walk in the woodland of Ein Yael to the south of Jerusalem, encountering Irfaiya by chance.

“He came across Ansbacher and decided to kill her because she was Jewish,” the charge sheet said. “He attacked Ori with violent cruelty, and though she tried to fight him off, he overpowered her. He stabbed her with a knife multiple times throughout her body, causing her death.”

Prosecutors say DNA evidence and Irfaiya’s own testimony implicate him in the crime.

The case sparked outrage across the country and prompted the government to approve implementing a law under which Israel would deduct from tax revenues it collects on behalf of Palestinians the amount that the Palestinian Authority pays out to Palestinian attackers and their families.

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