The decision of a Supreme Court justice to release a rape suspect from custody, citing the lack of “significant violence” in the attack, has sparked outrage.
In February, police arrested suspect Muhammad Tawil, a resident of East Jerusalem, on charges of raping a woman in a public bathroom at a park in central Jerusalem.
It was revealed last week that Supreme Court Justice Khaled Kabub accepted an appeal from Tawil’s attorneys, overturning the Jerusalem District Court’s decision to keep him in custody until the end of proceedings. Kabub wrote in the mid-April ruling that part of his reasoning in releasing Tawil was that there was “no significant use of physical violence” in the rape, although he noted that any case of rape has “an inherent element of violence.”
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) said it had issued a complaint about Kabub to the Ombudsman for Judges in light of his comment.
“We warned that [his] decision indicates ignorance and obliviousness, sends a terrible message to victims and raises the fear that [the ruling] will be cited in lower courts and cause harm to other cases,” the ARCCI said in a statement on Monday.
In an interview with the Kan public broadcaster aired on Sunday evening, the rape victim said that Kabub’s remark was hurtful.
“The statement that there was no significant physical violence is problematic,” she said. “It’s clearly inaccurate, hurtful, shocking.”
Such comments from Kabub, she added, “allow [people] to say things like that, that I didn’t oppose it enough.”
She added that she felt “exploited again in the media,” by those who used her case to make racist comments against Arabs or to support the government’s judicial overhaul plan, which she does not support.
Last week, a group of protesters led by the right-wing Btsalmo organization and accompanied by far-right Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen rallied outside Kabub’s home in Jaffa.
The protesters held signs reading “rape is murder,” and calling for judicial reform. The organization also filed its own complaint against Kabub to the Ombudsman for Judges.