Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Freed Palestinian charged with rape leaves prison after 55 days
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Investigation botched by police in child rape case

West Bank police district investigators failed to collect the 7-year old victim's cloths for DNA testing until Monday while they alluded to her family not providing them with evidence they needed

The Military Prosecution announced Tuesday it was withdrawing its indictment of Mahmoud Katusa for the rape of a seven-year old girl but is unable to hide the many failings in the investigative process.



A source close to the investigation described the Military Advocate General's statement announcing the decision as an attempt to cover up critical errors that were made as early as April 15 when the family of the victim first lodged their complained with the police.


Mahmoud Katusa with his daughter upon his release from military prison (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Mahmoud Katusa with his daughter upon his release from military prison (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
It took police investigators two weeks before the suspect was arrested but no real investigative steps seem to have been taken and no evidence was produced.


Moshe Bareket commander of the West Bank police district
Moshe Bareket commander of the West Bank police district


In actual fact the first investigative act of the police in this matter did not occur until the beginning of May.


But the central failing seems to be the fact that since the arrest of Katusa as the suspected rapist and until the story broke in media reports in late June, the entire case was handled by the Police in the West Bank district in what can only be described as a scandalous manner.


A police source told Ynet, "if no status meetings were held to evaluate the conduct of such a sensitive investigation or if they were held but their conclusions were not relayed up the ranks to police commanders, that is a scandal".


Katusa was held in custody for over two months and officials hinted that difficulties in the investigation were the fault of child's family that did not provide the police with evidence.


However, the fact is that the police could have and should have collected the evidence itself. On Monday, months after the investigation was launched, investigators arrived at the victim's home to collect the cloths the child may have worn the day she was raped as well as a journal and a doll, in the hope they may still contain DNA evidence.


Both the police and the military prosecutors are equally responsible for the way this case was conducted but the blame game is already in progress with the prosecution blaming inexperienced police investigators and the police laying blame with the victim's family that they claim was not forthcoming enough.




Minister of Police Gilad Erdan asked for clarifications and it is likely high-ranking police officials will be asked to provide explanations.


פרסום ראשון: 06.25.19, 13:42
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