The head of the Israel Police investigations department, Gadi Siso, has decided to personally handle the case of an alleged rape of a seven-year-old girl by a Palestinian man.
The decision was made due to the sensitivity of the case and question marks raised in the investigation, including the date and place of the alleged attack and the location of suspected accomplices.
The original indictment included the date of the alleged attack, but that was removed from the updated charge sheet after the suspect provided a verified alibi for that time.
Despite the completion of the police investigation, Siso has instructed a special team of detectives to examine the case and was due on Tuesday morning to hold a special hearing regarding the additional suspects.
The hearing was to examine how the investigation was conducted and its subsequent findings, as well as to update investigators from the Judea and Samaria District on efforts to locate the two other suspects. The intervention by Siso is unprecedented, given that he is the one who authorizes sensitive investigations and the way in which they are conducted.
The suspect, 46-year-old Mahmoud Katusa from the village of Deir Qaddis, has been charged with raping the young girl, who attended the school at which he was a janitor. He was arrested several weeks ago, following an extensive investigation into the allegations made by the seven-year-old.
Katusa allegedly groomed the girl with candies and attention, before allegedly taking her to a residence close to her school and raping her. According to suspicions, the attacker was accompanied by two other men.
Furthermore, Ynet has learned that the lawyer for the suspect met Tuesday morning with the judge who heard the case and representatives of the Military Advocate General's Office regarding a gag order on the affair.
After the meeting, the judge decided to move up a hearing on the matter to the immediate future.
Katusa's attorney, Nasser Ashraf, argued before the judge and the State Prosecutor's Office that there were issues with the credibility of the young victim's testimony regarding the defendant's identity, and that no comprehensive medical examination had been conducted to verify her claims.