The Supreme Court ruled on Monday to increase the prison term of a man convicted of raping a teenage hitchhiker from four years to six.

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced the defendant – who has not been named – to four years in prison in 2010, and ordered him to pay the complainant NIS 30,000 compensation.

Both the defendant – who has not been named – and the state appealed against the prison sentence.

The defendant argued the four-year prison term was too harsh and the state contended it was too light.

According to the indictment, the defendant picked up the complainant, a 16-year-old high school student, outside Beit Shemesh in the early hours of the morning in August 2009, and offered to drive her home to Moshav Zecharya. However, during the trip the defendant offered to take the teenager to his home in Moshav Tirosh, but the complainant refused.

The defendant questioned the teenager about her sexual history, and she refused to answer.

The defendant took her to Moshav Tirosh, where he gave her an alcoholic drink, before he drove her to an isolated spot and sexually attacked her, injuring her.

The court rejected the defendant’s arguments that he had not raped the complainant, and that the sexual contact had been consensual.

The court also dismissed an argument that because the complainant had complained about an earlier, unconnected rape that had not occurred, her testimony was unreliable and followed a pattern of behavior, possibly motivated by fear of displeasing her mother.

In rejecting the appeal, the panel of justices – Edna Arbel, Salim Joubran and Neal Handel – ruled unanimously to increase the defendant’s sentence.

In her part of the ruling, Arbel said that the increased prison term reflected the circumstances of the rape, in which the victim was a high school student who trusted the defendant, who abused that trust to commit sexual violence. Arbel also said the harsher prison sentence reflected the impact of the crime on the victim’s life, and added that the original four-year term had not met the intention of the legislature regarding crimes of this type.

“The punishment imposed on a defendant for such serious crimes are aimed at sending a message that protects women’s autonomy over their bodies and her honor, and to encourage women to come forward and complain about such offenses, despite the many difficulties involved,” Arbel said.

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