The state prosecutor's office has announced that it will reopen its investigation into complaints from female guards in Gilboa Prison in northern Israel. Following the escape of several prisoners, allegations surfaced from multiple female guards claiming they had been forced into offering sexual favors to the inmates.
The case was originally closed without charges. The Times of Israel reports that following an appeal from the plaintiffs, the prosecution has announced that it will file indictments against the former Gilboa Prison commander, Bassem Kashkosh, and the prison’s former intelligence officer, Rani Basha, on charges of fraud, breach of trust and failure to fulfill their duties.
One of the plaintiffs, speaking under the pseudonym Hila, claimed that she had been raped at least three times while serving as a guard in Gilboa. She alleges that her commanding officers allowed her to remain alone with prisoners contrary to regulations and that the prisoner responsible offered to protect her against other prisoners if she kept silent about his offense against her and other guards.
Palestinian terror convict Mahmoud Atallah, an inmate in the Gilboa Prison, will likewise face charges. Alongside the charges for which he was originally sentenced, he is now suspected of sexually assaulting female guards. The plaintiffs allege that other prison officials were aware of his actions, but did not take action to prevent them or disciplinary measures after the fact.
Attalah was sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years for the 2003 murder of an Arab woman who was suspected of 'collaborating' with Israel and for terrorist attacks which resulted in the murder of Israeli civilians. He is accused of committing indecent acts against at least three female prison guards, but denies the accusations against him. He claims that the acts were consensual and initiated by the guard, and insisted on taking a polygraph test to verify his claim.
As a result of the initial accusation, the Ministries of National Security and Defense ordered that IDF conscripts be removed from contact with prisoners accused of terrorism, stating that "Ministers Gallant and Ben-Gvir share the position that there is an immediate need to stop the placement of soldiers in the prisons, in light of the suspicions of the serious rape incident that occurred in the Gilboa prison and the alarming data presented in the State Comptroller's report, regarding a large number of sexual harassment and assault incidents involving female guards who served in the security wings of the prison service during their military service."