Partner's suicide threats 'extortion,' judge rules

Court convicts "obsessed" ex-boyfriend of extortion for threatening suicide after his partner tried to leave him.

Handcuffed 300 R (photo credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier)
Handcuffed 300 R
(photo credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier)
In a precedent-setting ruling on Sunday, Judge Benny Sagi of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ruled that a Tel Mond resident who threatened to kill himself if his partner left him was guilty of extortion.
This is the first case in which a judge ruled that a case of emotional blackmail between partners in a relationship constituted an offense of extortion.
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The court learned that when Aharon Asraf’s partner told him that their 18- month relationship was over in January last year, Asraf began to behave in “obsessive and illegal ways” to win her back.
According to charges listed on the indictment, Asraf delivered dozens of letters to his ex-girlfriend’s house, sent her hundreds of text messages and began to stalk her, the indictment charged, in violation of the Protection of Privacy Law.
The complainant took out a restraining order against Asraf, but he breached it on several occasions.
Also, and significantly, Asraf also told the complainant on multiple occasions that he intended to end his own life if she would not take him back.
Asraf’s suicide threats, the judge said, were aimed putting “emotional pressure on his partner’s main weak spot,” as he knew that the complainant’s ex-husband had committed suicide.
That behavior was “consistent with [Asraf’s] manipulative activities to make the complainant take him back,” said Judge Sagi.
In a statement to police, Asraf admitted he made the threat to make the complainant change her mind about ending the relationship.
“She told me I want you out of the house, I don’t love you,” Asraf said in his police statement. “And my reaction was, I can’t be thrown out onto the street, I need another couple of days, and I’ll kill myself rather than be homeless.”
Asraf was also found guilty of invasion of privacy and harassment using a telecommunications device, but was acquitted of another charge of making threats to the complainant’s hairstylist. The court is expected to sentence him within the next few weeks.