Is This How Much It Costs To Get Away With Rape In Croatia?
The Debrief: Three Australian men have paid to avoid jail time after raping a 17-year old girl in Croatia and have headed home, without trial.
Three Australian men have paid to avoid jail time after raping a 17-year old girl in Croatia. Unfortunately, it seems that in Croatia, money really does talk.
Dylan Djohan 23, Ashwin Kumar 23 and Waleed Latif 21 all from Melbourne, all pleaded guilty to raping a Norwegian backpacker last July in a bar in Split. Following a deal cut by their defence with the state prosecutor, the young men were all given a one-year prison sentence, which was immediately converted into a five-year good behaviour bond without having to go to trial.
According to the Daily Mail police seized the young men’s passports after the incident was reported. Their 17 year-old victim told officers that the guys had tried to gang rape her in the toilet of the Tropic night club.
She was able to fight them off at the last minute but all three of them left forensic evidence of their assault. Two of the men said they did have sex with the victim but maintained that it was consensual; the third insisted he had no involvement.
Apparently the deal, which was made between the defence lawyer who was representing the three Australians and Croatian prosecutors while they were on bail awaiting trial, required that they pay the victim 20,000 euros instead of facing a full trial.
The ‘good behaviour bond’ which the young men have agreed to in lieu of a prison sentence is enforceable in Europe but not once they return to Australia.
The Age reports that Sanja Sarnavka, a Croatian women’s rights campaigner, said ‘If they can afford it, those who are indicted will pay for the best lawyers, pay the damages and receive a minimum sentence or even go free. In a democratic state, everyone should have the same treatment, regardless of their wealth or assets.’
She also defended the young woman’s decision to take the payment, avoiding a potentially long and drawn out trial. While some reports are implying that the prosecution's case was 'weak' because witnesses saw the victim drinking with the men before the attack, many people are, understandably, furious that the state prosecutor allowed a financial settlement in a rape case – which carries a 15-year sentence in Croatia.
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