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Thursday, January 14, 1999 Published at 20:17 GMT


World: Middle East

Miss World rape suspect arrested

Linor Abargil wants her experience to be an example to other women

An Egyptian-born Israeli man has been arrested in connection with the alleged rape of the current Miss World - Israeli model Linor Abargil - Israeli police have said.

They said the man - who denies the allegations - was arrested at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

He has not yet been charged, although the indictment is expected on Sunday, an Israeli police officer is quoted as saying.

"We have enough evidence," officer Yaffa Golan said.

The alleged rape took place in Milan, Italy, last October - two months before the 19-year-old Miss Abargil won the Miss World beauty competition in the Seychelles.

Knifepoint attack

She has said she was raped at knifepoint in the suspect's car outside Milan on 6 October. She said he then tied her up, sealed her mouth with masking tape and tried to strangle her.


[ image: Miss Abargil said winning was
Miss Abargil said winning was "like a movie"
She began speaking publicly about the incident after an Israeli court lifted a restriction order on publicity about it.

Miss Abargil had asked for details of the case to be withheld from publication until her alleged attacker was detained. She now says wants her experience and her new-found fame to serve as an example to other women in her position.

"Women who are assaulted must react to the crimes committed against them, even at the price of some public exposure, so that these incidents do not become an accepted, routine part of our lives," she said in a statement.

Rumours slammed

Miss Abargil's lawyer dismissed rumours that those involved in the Miss World pageant had been aware of the assault and granted her the title out of pity.

"She was chosen thanks to her beauty and her personality and this is why she is asking for the opportunity to react to the lies that the suspect is saying," said lawyer David Libai.

Israeli women's groups welcomed the statement and Miss Abargil's decision to go public.

The Israel Women's Network director general, Haya Jamshy, said: "Women should not be silent, they should speak. This could help offenders get tough sentences."



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