Palestinian woman files again a suit accusing Israeli officers of rape and sodomy during an arrest operation in 2015. Citing a lack of evidence, the Israeli court previously dropped this case, in which the victim had accused Israeli security forces of “sticking fingers into her private parts.”
According to Haaretz, the woman, whose identity has been withheld, has filed the appeal with the Israeli State Prosecutors Office on Sunday, seeking to reopen the case.
The alleged incident took place in 2015, when the Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet, conducted a night-time raid to arrest the Palestinian woman suspected of having links to Hamas. She complained that female officers forcibly inserted fingers into her private parts twice.
The female military doctor and a female company clerk stated that they were following a Shin Bet commander’s order that her orifices be searched to see if she was hiding a SIM card to gain access to her phone information. No SIM card was found, and the invasive search was conducted in the presence of other male and female soldiers. A total of three Shin Bet staff and three army officers were accused.
Nevertheless, in 2021, the case was dropped on a “deficient evidentiary basis.” To top it off, the Palestinian victim was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of minor offenses.
Although some of the Israelis involved admitted the allegations during their questioning, it was impossible to determine who ordered the act. The three officers who were questioned about the incident blamed one another which makes it difficult to find the perpetrators and, as a result, the case was dropped.
The Palestinian woman now wants a retrial that prosecutes all the people involved. Since the act was both immoral and illegal, she argues that it doesn’t matter who ordered it as enabling or witnessing such a dreadful crime cannot go unpunished in any rule of law.
“In a situation in which there is no dispute that acts that constitute rape and sodomy were committed, [in which] there is sufficient evidence and when no one is punished, it’s outrageous and unbearable,” the woman’s appeal said.
“The investigation focused on the identity of the person who was responsible for giving the specific directive relating to carrying out the search of the [woman’s] intimate organs, but it ignored the direct responsibility of those involved in committing the offence.”
This is not an isolated incident. Public Committee Against Torture, an NGO based in Israel and the one who has filed the woman’s appeal, has stated that Mavtan the Justice Ministry department in charge of overseeing complaints against Shin Bet, received 1,300 complaints between 2001 and 2021. Only two complaints have led to recommendations for a criminal probe, the organisation’s spokesperson, Tali Shamir, wrote in Haaretz.
Israeli officers working in different divisions have been convicted of similar crimes. Most recently, in 2021, a Civil Administration military officer was convicted of raping a Palestinian woman and sexually harassing others and extorting them for sexual favours between 2013 and 2014. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2016.