A year after the brutal rape of a 17-year-old girl at central Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'ir parking garage, it appears that legal proceeding are drawing to a close. Ynet has learned that the Palestinian defendant in the case, Ahmed Beni Jaber, who initially denied the allegations, has agreed to admit to the rape in the framework of a plea bargain.
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The prosecution is demanding a prison sentence of at least 20 years, while the defense is asking that the court sentence Jaber to 16 years or less in prison. Jaber is suspected of raping the teenager at knife-point and forcing her and a male friend to have sex in a public bathroom.
The victim is demanding that Jaber admit that the crime was nationalistically-motivated. This demand was not included in the plea bargain and was not mentioned in the indictment. The courts tend to honor plea bargains and disregard the victim's objection.
The prosecution is expected to demand the maximum sentence of 20 years. In exchange, the defendant will admit to most of the allegations. The State is seeking a plea bargain in part because it wants to avoid further suffering to the victim, who will have to take the stand if the case goes to trial.
Scene of attack in Gan Ha'ir (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
The prosecution turned to the victim's attorney, Roni Aloni-Sedovnik, who agreed to a prison sentence of 16-20 years. However, the attorney said the victim is demanding that the rape be recognized as a hate crime and that the defendant admit the attack was nationalistically-motivated. At this point the prosecution is refusing to present the offer to Jaber.
Should the defendant eventually agree to say that the crime was nationalistically-motivated, the girl would be recognized as a victim of terrorism and will therefore be eligible to receive compensation from the State.
'State was negligent.' Jaber in court (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
According to the testimonies of the girl and her male friend, who is also a teenager, the defendant abused them for hours and cursed them in Arabic. "He would not have done this to me had I been Arab," the victim said. Jaber denied these allegations.
The brutal attack took place on a Friday night in May 2012 when the complainant and her boyfriend arrived at a parking lot adjacent to the Tel Aviv municipality building where their car was parked at 4 am. The suspect allegedly ambushed the two and threatened them with a blunt object, forcing them into a nearby public bathroom, where he allegedly forced them to have sex, and then raped the woman himself.
Jaber, a resident of Hebron, was arrested and charged with rape, abuse, indecent assault and menacing. Three additional charges were later added to the indictment: Illegal entry into Israel, use of a fake identification number and false impersonation.
Attorney Aloni-Sedovnik said she rejects the prosecution's claim "according to which a rape by an Arab should not be investigated as an act of terror. In this case the State was negligent and allowed the defendant to illegally enter its territory a number of times.
"The (victim) insists that he admit that the rape was motivated by hate. The rapist's attorney says the rape was a criminal act and that (the defendant) was intoxicated, but this is not true," said the lawyer.