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Report: Israeli police considering revenge porn inquiry against 12 youths

August 21, 2019 at 10:43am
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Israeli police are reportedly examining the possibility of launching a criminal investigation for possible revenge porn by Israeli teenagers arrested on suspicion of raping a 19 year old British woman in Ayia Napa and later released after Cyprus police said nothing incriminating had emerged against them.

An Israeli police official told Channel 12 that a group of Israeli activists was urging authorities to prosecute the teenagers under Israeli revenge porn laws, the Times of Israel reports.

“The matter is being thoroughly examined by the legal department to see if police here have the authority to investigate an incident that happened abroad, and if so, how it would be carried out,” he said.

The official said the probe, if approved, could potentially be carried out by the Lahav 433 unit’s cyber crime division.

According to the report, police were exploring their options after 20 Tel Aviv residents last week filed a complaint on behalf of the 19-year-old British tourist at their local police station.

The complaint said the Israeli teenagers violated the country’s laws on revenge porn by sending the video of them having sex with the British woman.

“It’s not okay that Israeli citizens should take part in hurting a woman while abroad, breaking the law, and not be questioned or held accountable for it,” the complaint said.

“Distributing an intimate video of someone without their permission is a crime that carries a five-year sentence,” it said. “They trampled her rights, and the Israeli police has the responsibility to investigate this matter and bring those responsible to justice.”

The official told Channel 12 that even if the investigation goes ahead, it would be extremely difficult to track down who circulated the video and would require the cooperation of Cypriot police.

In 2014, Israel became the first country to ban the distribution of so-called revenge porn in a bid to protect victims. The law, which targets sexually explicit media posted without the depicted person’s knowledge or consent, also covers content shared on social media. It stipulates that those found guilty of posting such content will be prosecuted as sex offenders, and that the offence is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The 19-year-old tourist is currently in police custody in Cyprus. She faces charges of public mischief for allegedly making a false gang rape allegation. She is due back in court on August 27.

Her first lawyer resigned because of serious disagreement with his client and her family and the teen had engaged a new lawyer and has applied to the attorney general to also be represented by a British lawyer.

Her family and Justice Abroad argue that she was coerced by police into retracting her initial statement that she had been raped and have  launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover her legal fees. The campaign has already raised  £23,267  from 534 donors. The target is £50,000.

Israeli media outlets said the sex video was being circulated on WhatsApp and had been posted on pornography websites.

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