Palestinian inmate, ex-officers at Gilboa prison to be indicted in ‘pimping’ scandal

Prosecutors reopen case, say that after examining new claim that surfaced last year, Mahmoud Atallah will be charged with rape; jail commander, intel chief to be accused of fraud

Palestinian security prisoner Mahmoud Atallah is accused of sexually assaulting and raping female IDF soldiers and guards at Gilboa Prison, in a scandal that alleges the women were 'pimped' out to Palestinian inmates. (Courtesy)
Palestinian security prisoner Mahmoud Atallah is accused of sexually assaulting and raping female IDF soldiers and guards at Gilboa Prison, in a scandal that alleges the women were 'pimped' out to Palestinian inmates. (Courtesy)

State prosecutors announced Tuesday they were reopening the case of former female prison guards who claimed they’d been “pimped out” to Palestinian inmates at Gilboa Prison in the north years ago, and said they intended to file indictments related to the scandal.

A statement from prosecutors said they had accepted an appeal over the decision to close the case without charges, and now plan to file indictments against the former Gilboa Prison commander, Bassem Kashkosh, and the prison’s former intelligence officer, Rani Basha, on charges of fraud, breach of trust and failure to fulfill their duties.

Prosecutors also said that charges would be filed against imprisoned Palestinian terror convict Mahmoud Atallah, who is suspected of raping a female prison guard and sexually abusing two others while officials looked the other way.

Atallah has been in solitary confinement since 2018 over the scandal in which Basha allegedly “pimped” female guards to him and to other Palestinian inmates, at his request.

In July 2022, the Ynet news site reported that a Palestinian prisoner convicted of terrorism was being investigated by police over sexual assault while behind bars.

Later that month, a female former IDF soldier who had served as a prison guard at Gilboa Prison alleged that she was repeatedly raped by a prisoner, later named as Atallah.

Gilboa Prison, February 28, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In an interview with the Ynet news site in August, the anonymous woman, identifying under the pseudonym Hila, described the assaults and said she had been waging a “war for my name” against rumors about her and accusations that she had lied.

“The story is not only about the terrorist and the jailers. The story is more complicated and bigger. Who allowed him for more than four years to touch, attack, and rape his guards?” Hila argued.

Screen capture from video of a former IDF soldier who alleged she was raped by a security prison when she was serving as a guard at the Gilboa Prison, seen during an interview with Channel 12, August 8, 2022. (Channel 12)

Despite reports from September that Atallah would likely not be charged, “after an examination of the new investigation material that was gathered, the state attorney determined that there is a reasonable chance of convicting Atallah” on the charges, Tuesday’s statement said.

Likewise, after “in-depth discussions,” the state attorney “decided to adopt the position of all officials that there is a reasonable chance” of convicting Kashkosh and Basha, who allegedly received detailed information about Atallah’s actions but failed to report them as they were obligated to do.

In Basha’s case, he is even accused of deciding to place a new female guard in Atallah’s ward after receiving the information.

The prosecutors said they were closing the case into Basha’s predecessor who quit the IPS due to the issue, Nissim Finish, citing difficulties in proving the exact content of the information he had received on the alleged abuse.

Reports of female soldiers and prison officers being sexually harassed and assaulted in Israeli prisons first surfaced in 2018, but then were largely dropped until last year when a probe was reopened following new allegations that emerged during an investigation into a prison break at Gilboa.

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