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Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Getting Away With Murder

In Crime in Israel on April 28, 2011 at 00:27

Karp Killers Side-Step Murder Conviction

Thanks to a Tel-Aviv court three Jaljulya men  in prison for beating a man to death in front of his wife and daughter in 2009 side-stepped life-in-prison.

Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. Anyone want to guess the average percentage of time convicted criminals in Israel actually serve?

And how much time with Leonid Karp’s wife and daughter “serve” without their husband/father and with the memories of his brutal murder?

via 3 Karp killers convicted of manslaughter, not murder.

The Katzav Effect

In Sexual Assault on March 26, 2011 at 21:43

TIME Magazine
Friday, Mar. 25, 2011
Israel’s Katsav Rape Case: A Plus for Women’s Rights?
By Karl Vick / Jerusalem

In a parliamentary government like Israel’s, pretty much all executive power resides in the Prime Minister. The office of President carries certain responsibilities, such as signing treaties and appointing the head of the central bank, but it’s largely a ceremonial post. Israel’s head of state is basically there to make the country look good.

So when Moshe Katsav, who held the office from 2000 to 2007, was convicted of rape last December, it did not enhance the dignity of the office. Nor did the outburst Tuesday morning in the Tel Aviv courtroom where he had just been sentenced to seven years in prison. “You are mistaken, ma’am, you are mistaken!” Katsav cried to one of the three judges he faced. “You have committed an injustice! The judgment is wrong! You allowed lies to emerge victorious! The women know that they lied! They know that they lied, and they are laughing at the judgment!”

The jurists took turns trying to calm the defendant — “Sir, sit down quietly, with dignity,” one of them said — then returned to reading out the sentence. In addition to jail time, it calls for Katsav to pay 100,000 shekels (about $28,500) to the woman he was found guilty of raping when she worked for him at the Tourism Ministry, which the Likud Party loyalist ran in the late 1990s. Katsav also must pay the equivalent of $7,100 to one of two former employees of the President’s residence whom he was convicted of sexually harassing. His attorneys announced he would appeal.

In the spasm of agonized national self-reflection that immediately ensued, one positive note was sounded again and again: in a country that still regards itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, “nobody is above the law, not even a former President,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it.

In fact, Israelis have grown accustomed to the long arm of the law reaching into the highest levels of government. Netanyahu was elected to an office vacated by Ehud Olmert, whose trial for corruption is under way in Jerusalem. The nation’s political landscape is stippled with former officials widely expected to resume their careers after waiting out penalties.

The real import of the Katsav conviction is the offense. Israel once enjoyed a reputation as an early exemplar of women’s rights. Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister in the 1960s. Young women wait at bus stops wearing olive green fatigues and carrying M-16s, military service being compulsory for both genders.

But in the corridors of power, it’s been a man’s world for generations. “This is considered a feminist country? That’s something new to me,” laughs Irit Gazit, who runs the legal aid bureau for the Women’s International Zionist Organization. An expert on sexual harassment, Gazit has been conducting workshops for the Israel Defense Forces. With its heavily male officer corps and legions of young female conscripts, it has often had to deal with accustions of harassment, yet it remains a crucial role model for a society that reveres its military.

In the gradual change of public attitudes, women’s rights advocates say a pivot point was the 2001 conviction of Yitzhak Mordechai, a retired major general convicted of indecency after being accused of unwelcome advances by a string of female subordinates. “While we were having coffee, he forced himself on me,” one testified. “He lay on top of me and tried to put his hand inside my blouse. I said to him, ‘Itzik, what are you doing?’ ” The accusations came in what would be a familiar pattern: news of the first complaint was followed by a wave of others. “It was a common assumption that if you were in a powerful position, you could do whatever you want,” says Gazit. “It was common in the army.”

The assumption has grown a bit less common with the publicity surrounding each new case. And there have been a lot of them. In one week last November, the nominee for national police commissioner was undone by a complaint from a woman who said he had sexually assaulted her at a conference. After another women alleged he had raped and drugged her, the candidate claimed the incident was not only consensual but a threesome. Meanwhile the director of the public security ministry resigned, acknowledging a relationship with a subordinate “that went beyond the bounds of work.”

Meanwhile, Katsav’s yearlong trial proceeded largely out of view, the three-judge panel barring most press coverage after sensationalized coverage of the investigation. The verdict included the judges’ tart observation that the Iranian-born Katsav had attempted to frame his accusers, followed by the court’s release of audio tapes supporting the allegation. “Now is a time of change,” says Gazit. “We need to educate men and women both. I hope cases like Katsav’s really serve this purpose.”

There is evidence they do. In January, the civil service commission reported that sexual harassment complaints were up 40% over a year earlier, a surge attributed largely to increasing awareness of the issue. Rape crisis counselors referred to it as “the Katsav effect.”

Child Abuse: We All Pay The Price

In Children on November 21, 2010 at 00:38

The fact that abuse is a serious issue in Israeli society is disturbing enough. However, the level of underreporting of the abuse is appalling.

This is a society that has always prided itself on its independent spirit and on its citizens’ readiness to roll up their sleeves and ‘do the difficult’.

The news brings us more and more stories of murders and attempted murders within families. We are shocked, but how shocked can we be when the friends, relatives and neighbors of these children refuse to step forward and try to stop these tragedies before they occur?

In the end, it is not only these children who pay the price. Abusers are much more likely to abuse their children; victims of violence at home are much more likely to commit acts of violence outside the home. And what does it do to our spirit as a nation when we hear the cries of our children in the night and do nothing?

When we keep silent at  the abuse of our children,  the final blow strikes us all.

Child abuse underreported throughout country
By RUTH EGLASH

Jerusalem Post
November 11, 2010 04/11/2010

Percentage of sexual abuse cases reported are higher in Jerusalem; the 33,751 child abuse cases reported in 2009 “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The percentage of reports of physical and sexual abuse against children in 2009 were much higher in Jerusalem than in other parts of the country, although overall, child abuse remains underreported in every region, a new study published Wednesday by the Haruv Institute shows.

Based on the number of reports filed with the social welfare services in each district nationwide, the Haruv Institute researchers found that reports of sexual abuse in the Jerusalem area made up 25.5 percent of all reports of child abuse in the region, while 47.4% of the reported cases involved physical abuse.

These rates were significantly higher than in other parts of the country, with reports of sexual abuse in the southern region, for example, making up only 12.2% of that region’s abuse reports, and physical abuse cases accounting for 42.4% of the reports in Tel Aviv. However, reports of general neglect among the capital’s children were relatively fewer than in other regions.

In Jerusalem only 27.1% of the reports involved neglect, while in the south it was 53.8%, 45.1% in the North and 41.7% in Tel Aviv. “Neglect” is defined in several ways, including children not attending school, left unsupervised at home or wandering the streets unaccompanied.

Haruv director Prof. Hillel Schmid noted that the actual number of abuse reports in Jerusalem was relatively low compared to other regions. He told The Jerusalem Post that the high percentage of sexual or physical abuse reports in the capital was likely because only the severest or most extreme cases of abuse were reported to the authorities, while lower levels of “neglect” are often not recognized as abuse among the city’s large haredi and Arab populations.

“There seems to be a difference in the legitimization and definition of neglect among haredim and the Arabs as compared to the mainstream society,” said Schmid, a former dean of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “There is a very different approach by these communities and not every case of neglect is viewed as such.”

However, Schmid was quick to add that overall, cases of child abuse remained underreported in all sectors and regions in the country, despite a law that specifically requires the public to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. He said that few people come forward with information and pointed out that the 33,751 cases of child abuse reported to the social welfare services in 2009 were most likely “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The Haruv report also examined child abuse reporting in the US and Canada, noting that neglect cases in the US from 2008 constituted 65% of all reports, physical injury 18% and sexual abuse 10%, while in Canada reports of neglect made up 35%, physical abuse 27% and sexual abuse 3%.

“The higher rates of reported neglect in the US and Canada lead us to believe that North American society has a greater awareness of the need to report such abuse cases than in Israel,” said Schmid.

“The general population here is not enthusiastic about reporting cases of abuse or suspected abuse. People are not only put off by the bureaucracy, where they have to fill out paperwork and give personal information, but in addition, we are a much more violent society than in the past and we either don’t notice the abuse or don’t feel it is important to report.”

He said that along with its research, the Haruv Institute had already started working with family doctors and pediatricians at health funds and hospitals, training them to recognize signs of violence and abuse among children and encouraging cooperation between medical professionals and social workers.

“In many places doctors do not know the social workers and there is little coordination,” said Schmid, adding that many doctors are not familiar with the signs of child abuse.

The Haruv Institute was founded three years ago by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation with the goal of becoming a world center for advanced research in the field of child abuse within the family in Israel.

The institute also works closely with the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and in training all professionals that work with children.

Child Victimization: First By The Pedophile, Then By The Law

In Crime in Israel on October 13, 2010 at 00:14

 

What is the opposite of a “victimless crime”? Perhaps a crime in which the victim is victimized first by the criminal and then by the System.

That is what happens 50% of the time in cases of sexual assault of children at least the way the law is currently written in Israel.

Apparently, the current law does not allow the testimony of children, brought to the court by  investigators specially-trained to work with child victims, to be the sole evidence on the basis of which a criminal case can proceed.

Let me translate that into reality for you. A child with the courage to report having suffered a terrible violation goes to the police. The police investigate. In the pursuit of protection and, perhaps, justice, the child tells his/her horrendous story. No other witnesses? The case gets thrown out for lack of evidence. A pedophile walks free.

I know that the wheels of justice turn slowly. I know that our country is scrambling to come to terms with the dark side of being a truly modern Western Democracy. I know that lawmakers are working to patch this hole in the fabric of our justice system.

Now explain that to a child…

 

50% Of Rape Cases Are Closed For Lack Of Evidence

Oct. 12, 2010

News1.co.il

Liat HaLevi

260 sex crime cases were closed with no criminal record

Knesset Member and Chairman of the Child Rights Committee Danny Danon: “Every day dozens of sex offenders who harm children are freed. We must change the law to enable criminals to be convicted”

38% of sex offenses closed between 2002 and 2009 were closed due to insufficient evidence. 50% of rape cases closed were closed for the same reason.

This data is part of a Knesset Research and Information Center document prepared for the Committee on the Rights of the Child for a discussion to be held today (Tuesday, 12:10:10) regarding the authorities’ handling of reports of sexual offenses against children and youth.

Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon responded: “Every day dozens of sex offenders who harm children are freed. The system is unable to convict these pedophiles, so we must change the law to enable the conviction of these criminals without causing additional harm to the children.”

Danon explained that the most problematic point is that the testimony of child investigators and the documentation of the investigation can not be accepted as the sole evidence for convicting the accused.

Unreported Crimes

A survey conducted by the Carob Institute a year ago, showed that only 55% of those who observed parents violating children reported it to the authorities. Those who did not report, noted that they did not do so due to embarrassment and fear, or not knowing to whom to turn. About a quarter of respondents claimed that they would not know to whom to turn in the case of a violation against a child.

A survey conducted by the Institute in April 2010 also found confusion among respondents regarding in which cases there is a duty to report, regarding the possibility of a false accusation lawsuit being filed against the person who reported and as to whether one can file a report anonymously.

According to Dr. Hanita Cimeren, President of the Association for the Protection of Children, “When an investigation file is closed or the attacker is exonerated, the victim is forced to experience another wave of injury that now includes frustration against the system and a blow to his or her basic confidence in its ability to protect the victim. Therefore, the findings of this study are very serious, that 260 cases  opened in 2009 for sex offenses by youth were closed on the condition of psychological treatment. Since these procedures are closed without producing a criminal record for the suspects, they are referred to the youth probation service. “

 

 

A Swift Kick & A Stiff Sentence: A Lesson In Justice

In self-defense on April 4, 2010 at 01:44

I can’t believe I somehow missed this news story in September but I can’t think of a better time to share it with you than at this Spring Holiday season, filled with renewal and hope for a brighter future.

Please feel free to share it with the people in your life who could use a little reminder: sometimes women and older adults know their worth and their strength. Sometimes bad guys get hit where it hurts. Sometimes judges ignore stupid excuses and throw the book at criminals.

And sometimes, as I have told many an older student, walking sticks (and knees) sure come in handy…

Older Woman Kicks Robber in Testicles, He Will ‘Sit’ For Seven Years

Seven years at hard labor and two years probation. That was the sentence handed down this morning (Sunday) at the Haifa District Court for 30 year-old Haifa-resident Wissam Ahmadat. Ahmadat was convicted of assaulting an elderly man and the robbery of 74-year-old woman in her apartment. During the robbery, he put a pillow over the elderly woman’s face to prevent her from resisting.

YNet: Sept. 13, 2009

Achya Raavad (and translated by Yours Truly)

The defendant admitted carrying out the acts at the end of 2008 and early 2009. The first case for which Ahmadat was convicted involved pushing a senior adult and knocking him off of the bench on which he sat at a pizzeria in the Hadar neighborhood in Haifa.

The second crime occurred early in the morning at a Nordau Street apartment, where a 74-year-old woman lived.  The defendant and a partner entered the apartment through a window and began looking for money and jewelry.

“During the search, the defendant entered the complainant’s bedroom and purposefully put a pillow over her face in order to rob the complainant or facilitate the execution of the robbery, or to facilitate his escape from the apartment after the robbery,” the charge read.
It went on to describe that the woman succeeded in struggling with her attacker, hit him over the head with her walking stick and even kicked him in the testicles. The two robbers eventually left the apartment with a total of NIS 1,000.

“It Was the Good Fortune of This Older Woman To Be Endowed With Resourcefulness and Courage”

During the trial, it became clear that the defendant had dozens of past convictions, and that he had already served five sentences in prisons around the country. He committed the robbery at the pizzeria less than a month after his last release from prison. These activities, as determined by the testing service, were carried out as a result his addiction to drugs.

Judge Oded Gershon ruled that addiction does not constitute a justification for the defendant’s many crimes. “The defendant’s behavior, over the years, shows that he has no regard for the property of others and he also used serious and dangerous methods such as placing a pillow over the face of an elderly woman to facilitate the completion of the robbery … His action could have caused the death of the complainant… She is fortunate to have been endowed with resourcefulness and courage and thus girded with strength, she fought back against the defendant, “said the judge in pronouncing the sentence.

The judge added that we must give harsh sentences that will deter those who attack the elderly.
“The safety and security of those elderly who are helpless and defenseless, especially those who live alone and are considered by criminals like the defendant to be ‘easy prey’, must not be abandoned. It is proper that every criminal should know that potentially, if he raises his hand against an older adult and injures him or his property, he is liable to be punished very severely via imprisonment at hard labor and being behind bars and locked up for a long time. “

Previously, Judge Gershon gave a six-year sentence to the attackers of elderly victim Malka Yariv, who stole her purse and seriously injured her.