Jerusalem District Court_370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Jerusalem District Court on Monday ordered Gavriel Barmi, both a Belgian and
Israeli citizen, remanded to police custody until the end of the proceedings to
extradite him to Belgium for alleged sexual and drug offenses committed against
minors, when he lived there for an extended period. The ruling was announced on
Barmi was arrested in Israel on October 13, 2012, after Brussels
submitted a request to Israel on May 26, 2011, to extradite him. On October 14,
2012, the international law division of the State Attorney’s Office submitted a
petition to declare Barmi extraditable.
According to the petition, from
2002 to 2008, Barmi committed sexual offenses – including sodomy – against one
of the minor victims, born in 1990, when he was aged from 12 to 18. It also
alleges the same type of sexual offenses against a second minor during the years
2002-2006, when the minor was aged from 12 to 16.
Many of the offenses
were committed after confusing and seducing the minors through the use of drugs
and alcohol, said the petition.
Barmi’s actions would qualify as sexual
crimes against minors and drug crimes, including pressing minors to use drugs,
under Israeli law.
The defense admitted that there is sufficient evidence
for most of the allegations regarding sexual relations between Barmi and the
first minor, but said that there was a significant gap in the evidence proving
that the acts were committed when the victim was still a minor.
addition, the defense argued that evidence regarding the second minor was
Besides noting evidentiary problems, the defense
explained that Barmi had not fled Belgium, but had merely come to Israel to
attend a family wedding – and was now staying on as he had ended a 15-year
relationship with his partner in Belgium.
No complaints have been filed
against Barmi since he has been in Israel, said the defense. The court found
that there were no real gaps in the evidence regarding the first minor’s age.
Simply because the defense pointed out that certain accusations did not come out
until they were revealed in 2008, did not contradict the first minor’s
statements that the sexual offenses began years earlier.
The court found
that even though the second minor’s initial statements to investigators denied
any sexual relations with Barmi, eventually he changed his story, saying he felt
the need to tell the truth. He made clear and specific allegations against
The court rejected the defense’s request for alternatives to
police custody, citing the dangerous nature of his alleged crimes, and the fact
that he had committed them against minors.
Further, Barmi had not visited
Israel from 2000 to 2008, noted the court, finding that he only returned to
Israel in October 2008, shortly after the allegations were revealed.
Accordingly, the court held that Barmi had fled from Belgium and would be a
flight-risk once again, if released from police custody.
The ruling said
that the revelations of the alleged crimes began in 2008, when the first minor
told his parents about his relations with Barmi. Subsequently, the minor’s
parents confronted Barmi and said they would settle the matter quietly if he
agreed to get psychological help and pay compensation, the court indicated.
Barmi agreed to get psychological help, but never did, and never paid any
compensation, according to the ruling.
Eventually, Barmi’s partner
learned of the allegations, fought with him, and told the parents that, based on
the advice of a lawyer’s, Barmi would not speak with them, the court noted.