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Photo: Amit Shabi
Anwar and Qusay Katusa, the brother and father of rape suspect Mahmoud Katusa
Photo: Amit Shabi
Source: Police may drop charges if no movement on rape case
Investigators apparently believe there is a connection between Palestinian suspect and his alleged 7-year-old victim but are beginning to question validity of case; source says investigation never saw this as nationalistic crime
The police and the Military Advocate General's Office will consider dropping the charges against a Palestinian suspect if new intelligence information does not advance the investigation into the alleged rape of a 7-year-old Israeli girl in the West Bank, a source related to the investigation said Wednesday.

 

 

The working assumption of the police, however, is that the child did indeed endure sexual assault, and the intelligence information points to a link between the suspect and the girl, the source said.

 

Ofer Military Court
Ofer Military Court

 

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.

 

But the source said Wednesday that although the intelligence indicates that Katusa had "some sort of connection," police are beginning to question the validity of the case in its current form.

 

The source said that the investigative material contained references to several participants who had not yet been questioned but should be. He indicated that another suspect had also been questioned but was later released.

 

Anwar and Qusay Katusa, the brother and father of rape suspect Mahmoud Katusa, outside Ofer Military Court in the West Bank on Wednesday  (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Anwar and Qusay Katusa, the brother and father of rape suspect Mahmoud Katusa, outside Ofer Military Court in the West Bank on Wednesday (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 

He said that there had never been any mention of a nationalistic motive during the investigation and that the alleged attack had been treated as a criminal case.

 

He said he had visited the West Bank community where the girl lived over the reluctance to file the complaint.

 

"The decision on whether or not to go to the police was significant, because the investigation may have been contaminated even before the complaint was filed," he said.

 

"Anyone talking about holes in the investigation is referring to the period before the complaint was filed, and we must take previous events in consideration," the source said.

 

Katusa's attorney, Nasser Ashraf, said in court on Tuesday 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.

 

Meanwhile, a hearing on whether to extend Katusa's remand was underway Wednesday evening at Ofer MIlitary Court in the West Bank. Prosecutors were asking that he be held in custody for another 10 days, but the court ruled that he would be remanded until next Tuesday.

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.19.19, 20:52
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