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Charges Dropped Against Palestinian Accused in Rape of 7-Year-Old Girl.

By i24NEWS, Israel Hayom, and

A Palestinian man, 46, a resident of the town of Deir Qaddis, near Modi'in Illit, indicted earlier this month for raping a seven-year-old girl at her school in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria, a case that transfixed Israel, was released from prison on Tuesday morning and the charges against him were dropped.

After Israel Police investigators re-interviewed the victim, Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek made the decision to cancel the indictment against Nazmi Abed el-Hamid Kattousa due to a glaring lack of evidence, and proceed with an investigation to find the culprit.

"After examining the evidence in the case, the completion of the investigation and the analysis of the investigative actions that are yet to be carried out, the Military Advocate General believes that at this time there is no reasonable chance of convicting Kattousa. Therefore, the MAG decided to walk back from the indictment and allow the Israel Police to continue completing the investigation," the office of the Military Advocate General announced.

Kattousa was originally indicted in mid-June after a three-month investigation. He worked as a janitor at the victim's school and reportedly fostered a relationship with her by occasionally speaking to her and giving her candy. On the day in question, Kattousa reportedly took the girl by the hand and forcefully led her to a nearby house, where he brutally raped her. After the attack, he released her. During the investigation, Kattousa denied all charges, putting his word against the girl's testimony.

The police maintained that there was no evidence to support widespread assertions that the attack was carried out from ethno-religious motives -- in other words, that a Palestinian had raped a Jewish Israeli girl because of her nationality and religion.

Attorney Yehuda Fried, who is representing the 7-year-old rape victim and her family, responded Tuesday to the alleged rapist's expected release. "The possibility that the rapist will walk free frightens me," Fried told 103FM Radio. "The possibility that he will return to working in the school is horrifying. We will do everything we can to change the decision.

"Last night, at midnight, the family received a notification that the interrogation of the girl yesterday, which took several hours, helped to bolster the proofs. From what they said, the girl was raped and Kattousa is the suspect. We were sure that the process would continue, but this morning the indictment was canceled. I can't understand it."

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Date:Jun 26, 2019
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