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Five men acquitted in Fittja rape case

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Five men acquitted in Fittja rape case
Södertörn District Court. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
13:11 CET+01:00
A Swedish court has acquitted five men accused of raping a woman and being complicit in her rape in Stockholm suburb Fittja in 2016, saying there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the crimes.

Södertörn District Court on Tuesday said that the men – three of whom were charged with aggravated rape and two with complicity in rape – would also not have to pay any damages as they had been acquitted of the acts alleged to have taken place in the summer of 2016.

According to the court document which The Local has seen, the two men acquitted of complicity in rape had been accused of filming the incident, but despite a large number of mobile telephones being searched "videos of the incident were not found, and therefore not presented to the court".

Video evidence from CCTV and images from the stairwell where the rape is alleged to have taken place were however used in the trial, as well as witness accounts. The three men accused of rape acknowledged that they had sex with the woman, but insisted that it was voluntary.

And while it "was been established the woman had injuries after the incident in the form of skin discoloration and scrapes, the origin of or reason for them could not be established" the court's summary of the trial states.

"Assessing the information provided by the woman in the trial has been decisive. It differs in important parts from what she said during police hearings," the summary continues.

The Senior Judge in the case criticised how the investigation was carried out.

"All parties agree that there have been shortcomings in the investigation. During the proceedings it became clear that the grounds upon which the charges were built are faulty,” Senior Judge Erica Hemtke said in a statement.

"The evidence the prosecutor provided simply isn't sufficient for someone to be convicted. The information the plaintiff gave does not add up, nor does is her account supported with other proof," she added.

The woman’s defence layer slammed the decision, calling it an "embarrassment".

"The verdict is an embarrassment for our legal system. No perpetrators should escape such a cruel and ruthless gangrape. This is the worse gangrape I have worked on in 26 years," lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz said in a statement.

"I don't believe my client has been given a fair trial, based on among other things her background and person," the statement continued. The woman had explained in police hearings that she was in Fittja to buy drugs from a friend, and it was established that she had a number of narcotics in her system at the time of the incident.

"I am going to fight for my client and we will appeal the verdict to the court of appeal. We are not giving up," Massi Fritz concluded.

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