Vandals graffiti Palestinian town demanding death for freed rape suspect

Cars also damaged in hometown of Mahmoud Qadusa, released from custody last month when charges he assaulted 7-year-old girl in nearby settlement were dropped over lack of evidence

'The death penalty is necessary for Mahmoud Qadusa' sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Dir Kadis, July 10, 2019 (Courtesy of Dir Kadis Council)
'The death penalty is necessary for Mahmoud Qadusa' sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Dir Kadis, July 10, 2019 (Courtesy of Dir Kadis Council)

Threatening graffiti messages were discovered Wednesday in the home village of a Palestinian man who was arrested in connection with an alleged rape of a 7-year-old Israeli girl, before charges were dropped and he was released.

Police said it had opened an investigation into the apparent hate crime.

An inscription saying “The death penalty is necessary for Mahmoud Qadusa” was sprayed on a wall in the West Bank village of Dir Kadis, referring to the formerly accused man.

The attackers also damaged several cars in the village.

Last month, 12 cars were found with their tires slashed and Hebrew hate slogans were spray-painted on walls in the nearby village of Sinjil. “We give them jobs and they rape” read one phrase daubed on a wall, in an apparent reference to the alleged attack on the child.

“We give them work and they rape” is spray-painted on a wall in the Palestinian village of Sinjil on June 24, 2019. (Jamal Asfour)

Qadusa, a 46-year-old maintenance custodian at the alleged victim’s school, was released in June after spending nearly two months in detention after the indictment against him came under fire for its lack of evidence.

The Haaretz daily reported Wednesday that police are currently not investigating any other suspects.

Qadusa told the Walla news site on Wednesday that he has not been contacted by police since his release.

According to the dropped charges, sometime “between the months of February and April” Qadusa dragged the girl from her school to a vacant home in the settlement, where he raped her as at least two of his friends pinned her down.

Shortly after the indictment was leaked, police came under fire for relying almost entirely on the testimony of the girl, forgoing forensic evidence in addition to being unable to determine the exact date that the alleged crime had taken place.

The seven-year-old’s parents have provided police with further evidence they say points to his guilt, according to Channel 13. The parents have reportedly given police a nude doll the mother said Qadusa gave her daughter, as well as drawings her daughter made which the mother said identified Qadusa as her attacker.

Mahmoud Qadusa after being released from prison on June 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last month the Israel Defense Forces’ military advocate general announced he was dropping the charges against Qadusa. The indictment against him had come under fire for its apparent lack of evidence, a fact that the military prosecutor, Sharon Afek, acknowledged in a statement to the press announcing the annulment of the charges.

The statement said that “the evidentiary infrastructure that underlies the indictment does not at this time amount to a ‘reasonable chance of conviction.’ Therefore, by law, the criminal process cannot continue, the indictment must be withdrawn and Qadusa released from custody.”

Only two months after the rape was believed to have taken place, police eventually arrived at the home of the alleged victim to collect her clothes for DNA testing, an official with knowledge of the investigation said.

An official also confirmed that the girl was only able to ID Qadusa in school after her mother pointed at him first and told her he was the man who had raped her.

Moreover, a failed polygraph test cited by the military court in successive decisions to extend Qadusa’s detention was carried out in Hebrew, rather than the defendant’s native Arabic, the official said.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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