New evidence has emerged in the widely-reported case of Sabbar Kashur, an Israeli Arab who was found guilty of rape by deception after having sex with an Israeli Jewish woman.
Back in July, it was reported that the two met in a Jerusalem street in 2008, had consensual sex within 10 minutes of meeting each other.
Two weeks later the young woman discovered that he was an Arab, not a Jew, and went to the police.
After his verdict was announced in July, Kashur protested his innocence in an interview to the BBC: “The whole case focussed on the fact that I am an Arab. It was real racism. The court insisted that I presented myself as a Jew and not as an Arab which is not true.”
The conviction of Sabbar Kashur generated a heated debate around the world about racism, sexual mores and justice in the Jewish state.
It was also reported at the time that Kashur was charged with rape and indecent assault, and the conviction of rape by deception was a result of a plea bargain.
New details in the case emerged when the woman’s testimony, which had been kept secret, was declassified last week.
It shows an emotionally disturbed woman who had been sexually abused by her father from the age of six, forced into prostitution, and lived in a women’s shelter at the time of the encounter with Kashur.
During her initial testimony, she repeatedly broke down in court as she accused Kashur of rape.
She was adamant she did not want sex at the time of the encounter, but was looking for a lasting relationship.
Asked why she went into an office block with a strange man, she said: “You have to understand where I came from. I used to live in the streets. I needed someone to place my trust in. I felt I was safe with him.”
Following the encounter with Kashur, the victim – identified only as B in the testimony – says she was taken away in an ambulance half naked and bleeding.
However, Lital Grossman – an Israeli journalist who has had access to B’s full testimony – said she got very confused and upset at this point.
What is clear from the court record is that the woman was inspected by doctors, who found bruises on her body.
Photograpic evidence of the abuse was presented in court, but prosecutors feared the woman would not be able to give a coherent testimony, given her emotional state.
B had lodged 14 complaints of rape and sexual violence in the past. Most of those resulted in convictions, but in at least one case, she was found an unreliable witness because of her confused state of mind.
So when the defence attorney proposed to cross-examine her on every one of those 14 cases, the prosecution feared she may be too traumatised and undermine her evidence.
Thus, a plea bargain was struck whereby Kashur was accused of rape by deception for presenting himself as a Jewish bachelor available for a romantic relationship, whereas in fact he was a Muslim and a married father of two.
* I recall that Amy Goodman did cover the time a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship (‘Israeli Arab’, I love that term, as if they came in later) got charged with rape because he lied to a girl and said he was Jewish!
* Nice to see you defending a man who raped a mentally retarded girl and plead down to a lesser crime via an archaic law called rape by deception.
* Having sex with a woman when you obtain her consent through deception (the assumption is she wouldn’t have done it if she’d known the man wasn’t Jewish) is classed as rape in many jurisdictions. In England, the precedent for this was the ruling in R v Williams (1923), where a singing coach was convicted of rape after he had sex with a 16-year-old pupil under the pretence that it was a procedure to improve her voice.