CANADA

Sexual assault centre head fired over Hamas rape denials

The president of Canada’s University of Alberta says the school has replaced the director of its sexual assault centre over its endorsement of an open letter that questions the validity of sexual assault claims against Hamas during its deadly incursion into Israel last month, writes Rob Drinkwater for The Canadian Press.

Bill Flanagan issued a statement on Saturday 18 November saying the director’s personal views “do not in any way represent those of the University of Alberta”, and the use of the centre's name in endorsing the letter was “improper and unauthorised”. A spokeswoman for the university confirmed the letter Flanagan referred to criticises Canadian political leaders for what it described as being complicit in Israel’s killing of Palestinians in Gaza. It also criticises New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh, claiming he “repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence”.

Israeli authorities have said they are investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape during Hamas’s 7 October attack that killed an estimated 1,200 people. On Tuesday 14 November, Israel’s national police chief showed a small group of international reporters video testimony from an eyewitness at a music festival in southern Israel who described watching another woman being violently sexually assaulted by multiple people before she was shot in the head.
Full report on the CBC News site