'Incident of cruel and brutal apocalyptic nature' (illustration)
Photo: Haim Ziv
A 20-year-old Palestinian was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of rape, sodomy, indecent attack and robbery against a 60-year-old Norwegian woman who arrived in Israel to volunteer at the Jerusalem office of the United Nations Children's Fund.
According to the sentence delivered by the Jerusalem District Court, Ismail al-Shuamera and three of his friends visited the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina in December 2008 without an entry permit, and began following the Norwegian woman.
After learning that she lived on her own, they decided to rob her. Three of the friends broke into her apartment through the window, tied her hands and legs, raped her and committed sexual offenses on her, one after the other. Then they stole her money and jewelry, as the fourth friend waited outside.
In October 2009, the court sentenced two of the defendants to 12 and 15 years in prison, after the defense failed to take part in the trial's testimony stage.
Attorney Zohar Giat of the State Prosecutor's Office asked the judges to sentence al-Shuamera, who was described as the group's leader, to a long prison term. According to the State, a probation officer had ruled that the defendant had no empathy towards the victim and did not assume responsibility for his actions.
Judges Jacob Zaban, Hana Ben-Ami and Rafi Carmel deemed the offenses committed by the defendants as extremely severe, saying that "the circumstances of the incident and the fact that this was carried out by a group give the incident a cruel and brutal apocalyptic nature."
The three judges addressed the fact that the group committed sexual offenses and raped the tourist, while their friends were busy drinking, eating and laughing in a nearby room. "What we saw here was obtuseness, cruelty and lack of human sensitivity," they wrote in the verdict.
All three judges ruled that al-Shuamera was the dominant and cruelest defendant in the case, "insensitive and yet manipulative."
Mahmoud Qaanaba, another defendant who did not take part in the rape, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
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