Ex-prison guard: I am at “war for my name” after revealing abuses committed by a convicted terrorist

A former IDF soldier said in an interview on Monday that she defended herself against rumors and lies after claiming in July that she had been repeatedly raped and sexually abused by a Palestinian terrorist detainee when she served at Gilboa prison.

The unnamed woman, identifying herself as Hila, voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test on Friday during which she was questioned about the validity of a written account of her experience at the prison, and was found to say the truth in accordance with the procedure.

Hila’s accusation troubled the Israel Prison Service and was followed by new allegations of sexual assault by other former soldiers who served in the prison.

The allegations included allegations that prison administrators were either complicit or unaware of the incidents.

Hila told the Ynet news site on Monday that she was waging a “war for my name” against rumors about her and accusations that she had lied: “I even heard that I was pregnant and I have a child in the terrorist world.”

“All of these lies are simply designed to obscure the serious crimes that have been committed against me and the rest of my colleagues in this scandal,” she said. She added that she believed senior Prison Service officials who had an “interest” in delegitimizing the claims were fueling the rumours.

A prison guard is seen in a watchtower at Gilboa prison in northern Israel on September 6, 2021. (Flash90)

“The story is not just about the terrorist and the jailers. The story is more complicated and bigger. Who allowed him for more than four years to touch, attack and rape his guards? Hila argued.

After her polygraph, Hila requested a meeting with State Attorney Amit Isman through her attorney Keren Barak.

“I want a meeting with him so that he can hear from me what it is like for a soldier in Israel to be pimped, what it is like for a soldier whose officer pimps her and her friends” , did she say.

Last week, Hila confronted the convict terrorist, referred to in Hebrew media as Ayin, under police surveillance, accusing him of rape and urging him to reveal which prison staff were complicit in the acts. The inmate in turn claimed that she was making up the rape charge.

The meeting between the two took place at the headquarters of the Israel Police’s Lahav 433 Major Crimes Unit.

Last month, the Ynet news site reported that a Palestinian prisoner convicted of terrorism, Mahmoud Atallah, was being investigated by police for sexual assault while behind bars.

Palestinian security prisoner Mahmoud Atallah is accused of sexually assaulting and raping female IDF soldiers and guards at Gilboa prison, in a scandal that alleges guards were “pimps” to Palestinian detainees. (Courtesy)

Allegations that Gilboa guards “pimped” female IDF soldiers serving in the prison to convicted Palestinian terrorists have circulated since 2018. The case largely disappeared from the public eye after little evidence was found.

But last year the allegations came to the fore again following explosive remarks by Gilboa prison warden Freddy Ben Shitrit. In November, Ben Shitrit – who was not at the prison when the incidents allegedly took place – said female soldiers who were prison guards had been forced to serve as eye candy or worse for some inmates, so to prevent prisoners from getting uncontrollable.

Ben Shitrit made the statements during testimony before a commission of inquiry into last September’s prison break by Palestinian terrorist convicts, which exposed a series of shortcomings in the prison’s operations and sparked controversy. strong criticism of the prison service.

Attention to the issue increased last month after Hila shared her story.

She made her allegations in a post on crowdfunding site BeActive, where her lawyer Barak has set up a campaign to support her. In the message, she said she was ‘handed over’ by her commanding officer to a dangerous terrorist ‘so that he could hurt me and sexually abuse me again and again’, and added that other guards had suffered the same fate. .

In her statement, Hila described four incidents of rape by prisoner Ayin. On the first occurrence, Hila wrote, she did not respond, while on the second she repeatedly shouted “no”.

“In the third incident, when the prisoner inserted his fingers into my genitals, I cried but he continued his act. In the fourth incident, he spun me around and pulled down his pants and my pants, and during the rape, I told him I was in pain as I cried, and he continued his actions,” she said.

Hila claimed that the prisoner exerted a great influence on prison life, apparently ensuring calm among the other prisoners in exchange for favors from the administrators.

The renewed allegations led to a heated Knesset hearing in early August on the issue, and promises from the government and prison authorities to fully investigate the allegations and make those responsible pay for their actions.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said earlier this month that he had ordered a reassessment of a years-long deal allowing IDF conscripts to be drafted into the Israel Prisons Service, but the Public Safety, Omer Barlev, responded that such a change would require new legislation.

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