Policemen looking for Sela
Photo: Niv Calderon
Escaped rapist Benny Sela
Photo: Tel Aviv Police
The head of the commission probing the circumstances of serial rapist Benny Sela's escape, Major Genereal (res.) Amos Yaron, presented the investigation's conclusions Thursday afternoon.
Yaron harshly criticized the police and called the escape "a hitch, a significant failure."
Yaron accused the police of failing to defend and protect the citizens of Israel.
"We as a society cannot let this go," said Yaron, "Israel's citizens have the right to sleep tight knowing that Israel's police and the Israel Prison Service are protecting them and not allowing the most dangerous rapist in Israel to roam free. This is a failure. If girls don’t feel protected – this is a failure."
Yaron discarded theories of some kind of conspiracy to help Sela escape and said that the investigation discovered no evidence which indicate that Sela planned his escape.
"We found no evidence for preplanning, and I can define his escape as taking advantage of a golden opportunity," Yaron said.
The external commission's report was submitted to Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter. Also present at the press conference with Dichter were Police Chief Moshe Karadi, and Commander of the Prison Service Yaakov Ganot.
'Grim picture'Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said that the commission's findings "Paint a grim, difficult picture, in terms of the incident itself and the system's performance."
Yaron also addressed the matter of accountability; and recommended that the responsibility for escorting prisoners and holding then in detention should be transferred in its entirety to the Israel Prison Service
During the press conference in which Yaron presented the commission's finding, Police Chief Karadi held a conference call with the police's senior command staff to inform them of the report's findings.
Almost two weeks have passed since Sela's escape. On the day of his escape Internal Security Minister Dichter ordered an external committee be formed to investigate the circumstances leading to Sela's escape.
Major General (res.) Amos Yaron was to head the committee. Officials in the police were not happy with the external appointment.
For nearly two weeks, the committee's members heard the testimonies of several Prison Service officials, they toured the two prisons in which Sela was incarcerated.
Avi Cohen contributed to this story