Police catch runaway rape suspect

Avi Kosashvili managed to flee Beersheba police custody en route to his trial.

Negev Dirtict Police caught a rape suspect on Monday afternoon after he escaped from police on his way to court earlier in the day. The suspect was transferred to the local police station for interrogation. Avi Kosashvili, 30, who was arrested nearly a year ago on suspicion of rape and breaking and entering, was brought to the Beersheba Magistrate's Court at around 10:30 a.m. for a hearing on a separate case in which he allegedly broke into a car. For reasons that had yet to be explained, one of the officers escorting him opened the door of his cell, enabling Kosashvili - who had his hands free - to slip out of police custody and run off. According to Israel Radio, police suspect that the officers at the court mistook him for someone else. Large forces of police and security officers were deployed in the area to search for the fugitive, and police helicopters had conducted aerial sweeps. Police were investigating the circumstances of the incident. Last November, convicted rapist Benny Sela escaped police and remained at large for three weeks before he was recaptured near Nahariya. Police committees that examined the organization's responsibility for the escape of the serial rapist arrived only at rubber-stamp conclusions, including a recommendation to carry out joint operations between police and Israel Prisons Services (IPS) with regard to prisoner transfers and checking the conditions of police detention facilities and prisoner escort units. Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report