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1 suspect in Eilat gang rape of teen convicted of indecent assault in plea deal

The two main suspects ask to be released to house arrest; 11 have been charged over incident that shocked the country last year

Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)

One of the defendants in the alleged gang rape last year of a 16-year-old girl in Eilat that spurred nationwide calls for reform was convicted Sunday in a plea deal after admitting to the lesser offense of indecent assault.

It was the first deal reached with a suspect in the August 2020 attack.

The suspect who reached the plea deal with prosecutors is a minor and his identity is barred from publication.

Before the plea deal he had refused to confess to any charges. He will now remain under house arrest every night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, the two central suspects in the case — Ilizir Maierov, 27, and Isi Raphaelov, 28, both residents of the central city of Hadera — appealed last week to the Supreme Court, seeking to be released to house arrest.

Prosecutors object, saying the men would pose danger if released. The matter will be discussed next week.

Raphaelov has changed his version of events in his response to the indictment filed last month at the Beersheba District Court. After insisting there had been no sexual encounter, he admitted that there had been but claimed it was consensual and the girl hadn’t been drunk. Maierov has made similar claims.

Isi Raphaelov. (Social media)

Maierov and Raphaelov have criminal records and both have previously served time in prison.

Another suspect Osher Shlomo, 19, has been charged with aiding and abetting a rape.

A total of 11 suspects have been charged with a series of sexual assault crimes. Four were charged with rape, and the other seven with other crimes including committing an indecent act, abetting a rape, conspiracy to commit a crime and failing to assist the 16-year-old victim.

According to the indictment, Raphaelov and Maierov broke into a room at the Red Sea Hotel and brought the girl there while she was drunk, with Raphaelov claiming he was a medic and offering to help her.

Ilizir Meirov (Social media)

“The defendants treated the plaintiff as an object, as a tool to satisfy their desires and none of the defendants tried to stop what was happening and provide any sort of help,” a statement from prosecutors said.

“Afterward, the defendants, for an hour, one after another, brutally committed sexual offenses against the girl, while losing their humanity and demonstrated disregard for her distress, until the girl was taken out of the room by another defendant at the request of her friend,” the indictment said.

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