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Eight Iraqi migrants found guilty of shocking New Year's Eve gang-rape of German woman


One of the convicted men is led from court

One of the convicted men is led from court


One of the convicted men is led from court

An Austrian court found eight Iraqi nationals guilty of gang-raping a German tourist on New Year's Eve more than a year ago - an echo of a high-profile series of attacks by migrants in the German city of Cologne at the same time.

The men were sentenced to prison terms of between nine and 13 years while charges against a ninth suspect were dismissed.

The victim - a 28-year old woman - was awarded €25,000 in damages.

The Iraqis, aged between 22 and 48, came to Austria as migrants between May and December 2015. Five subsequently were given refugee status.

The prosecution charged that the eight exploited the fact that the victim had been drinking heavily on New Year's Eve 2015 and was unable to defend herself.

The court heard testimony that four of the men took her to a Vienna apartment where they were joined by the others and that all took turns raping her. When she regained control, she found herself naked in a bed.

Prosecutor Karina Fehringer said the victim continues to suffer post-traumatic effects from the assault that required psychiatric treatment.

All but one of the defendants denied raping the woman while some acknowledged having what they described as voluntary sex with her. But Fehringer suggested that was impossible, describing the victim as being in defenceless in an "unconscious, shock-rigid" state.

Rape is punishable by a maximum 15-year prison term in Austria. Explaining the verdict and sentencing, Judge Petra Poschalko said that only two of the defendants had helped the court establish the facts and only one had confessed.

Ms Fehringer dismissed defence claims that the victim could have sent "false signals" that could have encouraged the men.

Noting that the woman had been heavily intoxicated, Ms Fehringer said: "Should we stick warnings on bottles: 'excess consumption could be interpreted as agreement to have sex?'"

Irish Independent