The Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday sentenced 21-year-old Palestinian Ahmed Bani Jaber to 30 years in prison after he was convicted three months ago of raping a teenage girl at a parking garage in the city's Gan Ha'ir shopping mall last year.
As part of a plea agreement, Bani Jaber pleaded guilty to multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sodomy. The assault on a teenage couple took place in the Gan Ha'ir parking garage's restroom over several hours.
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The court also ordered Jaber, a Nablus resident who had been living in Israeli illegally, to pay the complainant and her boyfriend NIS 250,000 ($69,000) each in restitution.
The punishment is in the maximum range for sexual related criminal offenses and considered one of the most severe penalties ever meted out for rape in Israel.
Jaber in court (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
The rape occurred in May 2012 when the girl and her 17-year-old boyfriend entered the Gan Ha'ir parking lot, where their car was parked, at around 3:30 am. The attacker ambushed the two and threatened them with a blunt object, forcing them into a nearby public bathroom, where he raped and abused them.
Police said DNA evidence linked the suspect to the incident.
In their ruling, the judges said the defendant "trampled over society's values," adding that his actions constituted a "lethal blow the values of human dignity." The judges called the defendant's actions "sadistic" and "despicable."
The judges said Jaber caused the victims "irreversible damage. Their souls have suffered such a severe blow that it is doubtful they will be able to recover from it."
In response to the sentencing, the rape victim said "I felt a great relief. This nightmare is finally over and I can start a new phase of returning to normal life."
During the trial, the teenage girl handed the court a personal letter in which she asked to be recognized as a victim of terror. "It went beyond rape, I cannot contain this suffering. He humiliated me as a woman and as a Jew," she wrote.
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