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Palestinian woman demands trial of Israeli soldiers for sexual assault

February 16, 2022 at 3:30 pm

A woman holds a placard as she takes part in a demonstration to denounce sexual violence against women [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

A Palestinian woman has called for the trial of six Israeli officers who, it is alleged, sexually assaulted her during a search in 2015, Arab48 has reported. An investigation into the conduct of three Shin Bet security staff and three army officers was closed about 10 months ago due to lack of evidence, despite some admitting to the allegations under questioning.

The woman, whose identity has been withheld by Haaretz due to security concerns, says that a Shin Bet commander ordered two female soldiers to take her aside and conduct a body search. The soldiers removed her clothes and probed her private parts. According to the report, both the Shin Bet commander and an Israeli army officer were present while this took place.

The Palestinian woman made a complaint at the time. Nevertheless, she was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of minor offences.

“What happened harmed the body, soul and dignity of the Palestinian woman who wants justice that the military prosecution stole from her,” said the director of the legal department at the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI). “The military prosecutor’s decision to close the file is wrong and unacceptable, because these actions not only violate the United Nations Convention against Torture, ratified by Israel, but also establish the suspicion of serious crimes against the legal system, including rape and indecent acts.”

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The Palestinian woman alleges that the acts constituted rape and sodomy and is demanding that all of those involved be charged with both crimes. In her appeal filed by PCATI, it is pointed out that it is “outrageous and unbearable” for no one to be punished even when “there is no dispute that acts that constitute rape and sodomy were committed” and “there is sufficient evidence.”

According to Haaretz, the doctor and female soldiers apparently admitted inappropriately handling the Palestinian woman’s private parts and the company commander admitted giving the order. The appeal document insists that even if an order to this effect was given by a senior officer, it is no defence, “because the order was clearly illegal and under no circumstances should have been followed.”