Umm al-Fahem man convicted of homophobic attacks

Umm al-Fahem resident convicted of beating, threatening two men in Or Yehuda because of their sexual orientation.

Court gavel justice judge legal law 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Court gavel justice judge legal law 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday convicted an Umm el-Fahm resident of common assault and threats after finding him guilty of attacking two men because of their sexual orientation.
Ahmed Jabarin was also convicted of unlawful possession of a knife and attempted theft.
According to the indictment, Jabarin attacked the two complainants, both Israeli Arabs, in February 2010 in Or Yehuda.
Jabarin hit the first complainant on the shoulder with a wooden stick.
He then threatened the second complainant by holding a knife to his throat, saying that if the man ever returned to Or Yehuda, he would kill him.
Jabarin then took a cellphone belonging to the second complainant, the indictment said.
In court, the two complainants testified that the attack had been homophobic in nature.
The men said that they had come to Or Yehuda to visit a male friend, Samir, who worked in a local restaurant. Jabarin, whom they did not know, had seen them wearing makeup and been “disgusted” that they were gay, consequently attacking them, they told the court.
Police officers called to the scene testified that when they arrested Jabarin as a suspect, he shouted after the two complainants that he would kill them, and then told one of the police officers that he had beaten the men.
Jabarin also was said to have expressed his disapproval of the complainants, telling police he believed the men had made sexual advances to him even though he is not gay: “What, am I gay, that they should ‘hit on’ me?” Jabarin denied attacking the men, and said he had just asked them to leave because they had been playing loud music which disturbed him.
In his statement to police, Jabarin testified that he had gone to Samir’s restaurant and “some gay guy came out.”
However, in court Jabarin testified that there had been no homophobic motive to the attack, and he had only learned the complainants were gay after seeing them in court.
Jabarin also testified that he had not attacked Samir, who is also gay, and therefore could not be homophobic.
In finding Jabarin guilty of the attack, Judge Michal Barak Nevo said that Jabarin’s spontaneous statements to police regarding the complainants’ sexual orientation contradicted his denial of a homophobic motive to that assault.
“These things indicate a realtime knowledge that the complainants are gay, and that this was the background for his actions,” Barak Nevo said. The court will sentence Jabarin at a later date.