TA magistrate says 'solid evidence' links Ashkenazi's bodyguard to attempted rape

TA magistrate says soli

idf officer rapist 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
idf officer rapist 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
"Solid evidence" exists to link a 30-year-old IDF captain who served as a body guard for IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi to a sexual assault on a young woman in Tel Aviv's old port on Saturday, a Tel Aviv magistrate ruled on Tuesday during a remand hearing for the suspect. Judge Avihai Doron said police have at least one witness who saw the suspect attack the 22-year-old woman in the parking lot of the bar and club district in the area. The court ordered Captain "A" to be remanded in custody for a further six days. Judge Doron renewed a media gag order that prohibits publication of the suspect's image and name in order to allow police to hold a lineup for the witness. Police have added to the charges they suspect the IDF officer of having committed, and now suspect him of sodomizing the woman. The police representative to court, Ch.-Supt. Nahum Bavkof, submitted a written statement to the court, saying the suspect sodomized and struck the woman, causing her bodily harm. The suspect is a danger to the general public and should therefore be kept in custody, police claimed during the hearing. During questioning, the IDF officer had told police he went to urinate in bushes near the parking lot, and fell into the Yarkon River. The suspect's lawyer, Benny Nahari, said police claims of injuries on his client's face resulting from a struggle with the woman were false, adding that the injuries were sustained during the suspect's arrest. But Judge Doron cast doubt on the suspect's version of events. "The silence by the suspect from the moment he gave his initial account is significant," the judge said. "He who is innocent will find every way of explaining his innocence," he added. Tel Aviv state prosecutors had ruled out police plans to hold a lineup with the suspect for the woman, Bavkov said, adding that the prosecution asked for the woman to identify her attacker through pictures alone. Bavkov said the alleged victim was able to eliminate several photographs of other men and leave three photographs on the desk before her, one of which was an image of the suspect. She was, however, unable to finger the suspect, he added. The woman and the IDF officer then faced-off in a police interrogation room. In an emotional confrontation, the woman accused the suspect of attacking her, but he denied the charges. "Why are you doing this to me? I don't know you," the suspect reportedly said. "I wasn't there and I did not attack you." The woman appeared in a Channel Ten interview on Monday evening with her image blackened out. "I noticed someone was following me," she said during the interview. "I kept turning around to see if he was still there, and I saw he was still following me." She entered her car and started the engine when the suspect opened the door, she said. "At first I thought he just wanted to steal the car. I told him to take whatever he wanted. But he dragged me away from the car, and held me with his hand over my mouth. I screamed and tried to fight," the woman said, her voice shaking. She said she was dragged by the suspect for a few meters towards the bank of the Yarkon and thrown into the bushes. "I tried to call for people to help me, but he held me and kept asking me if I wanted to die," the woman said. "I told him no, and he told me to shut my mouth. He then turned me around so my face was in the mud, and began stripping me, taking off my pants," she added. Passers-by who noticed the assault headed towards them, she said, prompting the attacker to flee and jump into the river. The suspect had been celebrating his bachelor's party. He and his fiance have called off their wedding, although the suspect's fiance has offered her support to her partner.