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Sex-ess Was Rape

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The case of Louisa Margarida, the 36-year-old Brazilian widow convicted on charges of indecent behavior in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre last month, took a complex and tragic turn over the weekend. The woman, sentenced by a district court to six months imprisonment for allegedly having sexual intercourse in the shrine with her Arab lover, Habas Mohammed Abdul Halim, 33, a visitor from Jordan, was released on bail Friday after the court decided to review the case.

She learned then that her three-year-old son Samir who had been left in the care of his three older sisters took ill and died at a Ramallah hospital two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Deborah Yager, Deputy Consul of Brazil in Israel, was given custody of the three surviving children, Fatima Teresianna 13, Samira 12 and Miriam Sara six. Mrs. Yager intervened after learning that relatives of their late father intended to remove the children to Kuwait. Mrs. Margarida and her daughters are reportedly staying at the Brazilian Consulate here after the woman’s life was threatened in Deir Aboud, the village in the Samaria district where she had lived.

Margarida was said to have confessed to indecent acts at the church. But later she claimed to have been the victim of a sexual assault while visiting the church. In a bizarre twist, Abdul Halim, who was also arrested, was appointed by the court to serve as interpreter for Mrs. Margarida who speaks no Hebrew. She now claims that her alleged assailant wrongly translated her testimony to the court, making it appear that she agreed to have sexual relations with him.

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