Israelis leaked details of rape case, says Norris's ex-partner

Sat, Aug 6, 2011, 01:00

THE FORMER partner of David Norris has accused Israeli officials of disclosing details of his 1997 conviction for statutory rape.

Ezra Yitzhak Nawi said that while the Israeli embassy in Dublin may not have been involved he had no doubt that Israel was the source.

Mr Nawi, an Israeli Jew who has campaigned for Palestinian rights, was imprisoned for three months in 1997 for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy in 1992.

The public disclosure of a letter of clemency written by Mr Norris on his behalf led to the Trinity College Dublin Senator ending his bid to stand in the presidential election later this year.

In the course of an interview with RTÉ Radio’s News at One, Mr Nawi also accepted he was aware the boy was under the legal age of consent. “I have not denied it. It happened. I regret it and I have paid my debt to society,” he said.

Mr Nawi said the conviction was used by Israel against him all the time because of his activities on behalf of the Palestinian cause, and he condemned its use against his former partner during the campaign: “I can’t imagine using it against David. And it’s a pity.”

Mr Nawi described the encounters with the boy which he said occurred more than 20 years ago.

He said as he was involved in politics, it was a “very juicy story” for those who opposed his views.

Giving his view on how the story appeared in the Irish media, he said: “I think that some Israeli officials or embassy or somebody else is involved in this. There is no doubt about it. Maybe [there are] also other countries.”

When it was put to him the Israeli embassy in Dublin had denied this, he said: “Of course they will deny this. [The source was] not necessarily the embassy in Dublin but [it came] definitely from Israeli sources. There is no doubt about it.”

Asked about his sexual contact with the teenage boy, he said it occurred in about 1990: “I met somebody who was about 15. We found ourselves together and I ask him . . . to delay our meeting. He said no and we met a few times and he was the guy who phoned again. He liked to come to my place. But he was under age no doubt about it,” he said.

Mr Nawi said the age of the boy was “on the border”. “I have not denied it. It happened. I regret it and I have paid my debt to society.

“I was in jail for three months. I think [as I have been involved] in the struggle against occupation, they all the time use this against me and against my friends and against my struggle.”

When it was put to him that some people might describe him as a paedophile, he replied the boy was 15 and he was far from being a paedophile.

He added: “I do not justify this at all. I regret it for the third time.”

He agreed that the existence of the letter did “not look well” for Mr Norris as it showed a public person and politician helping him.

He qualified that by saying: “Somebody from the outside who does not know the details and the relationship and what I am doing will not understand it.”

He said he had no doubt his former partner would have made a very good president and instanced his humanitarian work in many countries around the world.