MK Michal Rozin leads a Hannuka themed discussion in Knesset on pluralism and human rights .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) has asked Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to clarify why police waited more than a week to alert the public about a gang rape in south Tel Aviv, saying doing so may have helped a fugitive suspect evade arrest.
“At the same time that one of the suspects is on the run, police prevented the publication of the case. It’s possible that this decision has prevented the police from catching the third suspect,” Rozin wrote in a letter sent to Erdan’s office Wednesday.
Hiding stories like this “seriously harms the process cases like this deserve,” she said, and asked whether this was a case of neglect.
Rozin also stated that the delay was more glaring because the victim had issued her complaint on May 12, the day after the assault, which contradicts a statement made during a remand hearing for one of the suspects on May 17 in which the police officer present said the complaint was first issued on May 16 by the victim’s aunt.
The case involves brutal allegations of a gang rape by three Palestinians from the West Bank who reside in Israel, including a minor. One of the suspects – a 42-year-old father of three from Nablus – is suspected of filming the rape, which was allegedly carried out while the suspects spit and urinated on the 20-yearold mentally disabled woman and made anti-Semitic comments, leading police to assert the case involves nationalist motives.
All three were residing in the same apartment building as the victim, her aunt and her aunt’s boyfriend. The third suspect remains at large.
Tel Aviv police issued a statement on the case only on Wednesday after they were grilled by crime reporters in a closed WhatsApp group about why they had failed to inform the public about the case, even though three remand extensions had already been held.
About a half hour after they were first asked about the case, a spokesman for the Tel Aviv district said it was “a very sensitive investigation, please wait with your headlines... I ask that you be very cautious with anything you publish because the case is still open and police are still gathering evidence and also because of the sensitivity of the case.”
This is not the first time the police have been criticized for failing to report a rape case. In December 2012, police waited 10 days before reporting an incident in which an Eritrean migrant raped an 83-year-old woman in the courtyard of her south Tel Aviv home. For the first three days, the suspect remained on the loose, but the case was not reported by police until days later following leaks to the press.