Court increases sentence for attack on elderly woman

Punishment for one of 3 men who severely beat 69-year-old Ita Fogelan upped from 11 to 13 years in prison.

Elderly 224.88 (photo credit: Sasson Tiram [file])
Elderly 224.88
(photo credit: Sasson Tiram [file])
A panel of three Supreme Court justices headed by Edna Arbel increased on Wednesday the punishment for one of three men who severely beat an elderly woman from 11 to 13 years in prison. The case involved Ita Fogel, a 69-year-old woman who was severely beaten, had burning cigarettes extinguished on her back and had bleach and cold water poured over her body. She was attacked by three men, including Eric Schechter, who believed she had money stashed in her Haifa apartment. The other two defendants are still on trial. The men also carried a box cutter and threatened to kill her if she did not tell them where the money was. The torment went on for three hours and Fogel was hospitalized for more than a month. Exposure to the bleach caused her respiratory difficulties and she was hospitalized in intensive care. A year after the attack, Fogel, a Holocaust survivor, still suffers from the trauma. Arbel wrote that "this case is one of the gravest that has ever come before this court. The acts in which Schechter was a partner reflect total indifference to the fate and suffering of another. The were carried out inhumanely. The cruelty... of the acts in this case are exceptional in their harshness and gravity, and they cannot [be allowed to pass] without an appropriate judicial response." Arbel pointed out that attacks on the elderly have recently become frequent because the victims cannot fight back. Therefore, the punishment for those convicted in such cases should serve as a deterrent. Secondly, it should reflect the seriousness of the harm done to the victim. Courts have been given a tool to help shape the character of society in their right to punish offenders, she said. "The punishment that is handed down must reflect the rejection of the acts and the social repulsion from them," Arbel continued, adding that it was not enough for the courts to simply express this revulsion in words.