Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Israeli Arab appeals rape-by-fraud sentence

(Original Post 7-29-10)
An Israeli Arab has appealed his conviction for rape by fraud to the Israeli Supreme Court. Sabbar Kashur's conviction on July 20 was for telling a Jewish woman he met that he was a single Jew when in reality, he was a married Israeli Palestinian father of two. They met outside a shop in Jerusalem and had sex. This happened in September of 2008, and a month and a half later, the woman went to Israeli police and cried rape. After nearly two years of house arrest. Kashur was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison.

A panel of three judges, headed by Tzvi Segal, deputy president of Jerusalem District Court, stated their reasons for the rape by fraud verdict.

 If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated... .The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price - the sanctity of their bodies and souls. When the very basis of trust between human beings drops, especially when the matters at hand are so intimate, sensitive and fateful, the court is required to stand firmly at the side of the victims ... otherwise, they will be used, manipulated and misled, while paying only a tolerable and symbolic price.

The verdict has sparked both condemnation and praise in both Israeli and other circles. Women's groups have said that the verdict recognizes that one does not have to use a position of authority or violence to commit a rape - that lying to get sex is just as must an assault as a forcible rape. Others have said that the true reason why Kashur was arrested and convicted of rape by deception was because he was an Arab who had sex with a Jew in Jerusalem.

There have been Israeli men who have been convicted of rape by deception in the past. Both of these have been people who were in a formal position of authority with their victims and promised their victims sex for something of value. Four states have rape by fraud laws - Alabama, California, Michigan, and Tennessee.

Massachusetts has rape by fraud legislation which has been stalled. The impetus for such a law comes from this. Wendy Murphy, a prominent law professor and victim's rights advocate, wants to see Massachusetts' law passed. “What I’ve proposed as a more representative alternative is to have a crime called penetration without consent, and avoid the force issue.”

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law professor Patricia Falk says while fiduciary relationships which are sexualized are considered to be non-consensual, defining fraud in other relationships is much more difficult. “What’s the difference between ‘I will love you forever and we’re going to get married’ and ‘I am LeBron James? What constitutes romantic inducements and things that are fraudulent enough for the law to take recognition of?”

(Update 8-4-10) Kashur was released pending appeal yesterday by the Israeli Supreme Court. The court said that  due to the circumstances of the case, "The possibility should not be ruled out that a higher court may reduce the petitioner's sentence." Kashur spent his first day of conditional freedom with his children in a shopping mall.

No comments: