Gilboa prison pimping affair: New sexual assault allegation emerges

A new, separate instance of sexual assault by a prisoner against a female prison guard has come out of the Gilboa Prison pimping affair case.

 A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

In investigating the Gilboa prison 'pimping affair,' another separate — serious — instance of alleged sexual assault by an inmate against a female soldier came to light. 

Israel Prison Service noted that the event happened within the last few years, according to KAN. According to Ynet's Liran Levi, who initially broke the story, the Lod District Court overturned a previous court ruling by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on Monday, allowing for the publication of the alleged assault, per Yediot Aharonot and Ynet's request. 

What happened? 

Further details, including the name of either the prisoner, the female soldier or the prison in which the assault allegedly occurred have not yet been released to the public, according to the report. 

According to Levi, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court did not allow his name to be published for the last few months because the trial was ongoing. 

  Israel Prison Services (IPS) head Kati Perry is seen testifying to the committee investigating the escape of six Palestinian security prisoners from Gilboa Prison, on January 12, 2022. (credit: Bruno Sharvit/GPO) Israel Prison Services (IPS) head Kati Perry is seen testifying to the committee investigating the escape of six Palestinian security prisoners from Gilboa Prison, on January 12, 2022. (credit: Bruno Sharvit/GPO)

Judge Michael Karshan from the Lod District Court overturned the decision, allowing for some details to be published from Lahav 433, the National Crime Unit, Ynet added. 

"If I could only tell you how terrible the acts committed against this poor soldier, you would be horrified," tweeted Levi after the news got out.

"They fought tooth and nail to stop this case from getting out. I wish they would fight that way for sexual assault victims."

The larger context - the pimping affair

Attorney Keren Barak, who is representing the women in the case, told Ynet: "I have been following this for a number of years. We are talking here about a shocking case, one of the more horrific ones the State of Israel has seen happen to female soldiers during their army service.

"We are talking here about a shocking case, one of the more horrific ones the State of Israel has seen happen to female soldiers during their army service."

Attorney Keren Barak

"Israeli officers pimped out soldiers and prison officers to a terrorist with blood on his hands to satisfy his sexual needs," she added, "Israel can no longer ignore these women." 

What became known as the pimping affair is a series of sexual assaults orchestrated and carried out against female soldiers and prison officers in Israeli prisons from 2014-2017. 

Fatah prisoner Muhammad Atallah passed along his demands to Israeli prison commanders who strategically placed their female prison guards and soldiers in his ward. 

One of them, Rani Basha, was fired three weeks ago by Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and following a recommendation by IPS Commissioner Katy Perry, after admitting that he specifically moved female prison guards from the security to the criminal wing of Gilboa prison, per Atallah's demands. 

So far, four female guards have testified that he sexually assaulted them. 

The case was opened back in 2018 but closed due to a lack of evidence. It was reopened last year by State Attorney Amit Isman thanks to an unexpected line in testimony by prison warden Freddy Ben Sheetrit during a hearing about the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa in September 2021. 

The fourth guard, who has not been identified by name, said that Atallah touched her against her will while she worked in the ward. She added that he called her personal phone - which he got from a different prison guard - telling her he missed her and that he knew where she lived. 

In 2018, the other three prison guards testified that prisoners had sexually harassed them. 

"When I told Rani [Basha] that I had been harassed by the prisoner, he didn't even call me in for a conversation nor to ask what happened," one of the prison guards told KAN Reshet Bet. "That's when it hit me that he was the one who pimped me out."