Sydney gang rapes

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The Sydney gang rapes were a series of gang rape attacks committed by a group of up to fourteen Lebanese Australian men led by Bilal Skaf against European Australian women and teenage girls, as young as 14, in Sydney Australia in 2000. The crimes—described as ethnically motivated hate crimes by officials and commentators [1][2][3]—were covered very extensively by the news media, and prompted the passing of new laws. The nine men convicted of the gang rapes were sentenced to a total of "more than 240 years" in jail. According to court transcripts Judge Michael Finnane described the rapes as events "you hear about or read about only in the context of wartime atrocities".[4]

Contents

Further attempted attacks

A further series of gang rapes were said to have been attempted, but thwarted. Four of the attackers were also convicted for an attack on Friday 4 August 2000 when they approached a fourteen-year-old girl on a train where she was threatened with violence, punched twice and slapped,[10] told that she would be forced to perform fellatio on several men and that she was going to be raped.[11]

Attackers

  • Bilal Skaf led and orchestrated the three August 2000 attacks. He was initially sentenced to a total of 55 years imprisonment, but had his sentence for these attacks reduced by the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal to 28 years, with no parole for the first 22 years. However, on 28 July 2006 Acting Justice Jane Mathews added another ten years to his sentence for his role in the 12 August rape. His original conviction over this attack had been quashed in 2004 and a retrial ordered after it was revealed that two jurors had conducted their own investigations at Gosling Park.[12] Bilal Skaf is eligible for release on parole from 11 February 2033. In March 2003 Skaf was charged with sending mail containing white powder to a corrections department official from prison in an apparent hoax terrorist act.[13]
  • Mohammed Skaf, younger brother of Bilal Skaf, was one of the gang rapists. He was sentenced to 32 years for his role in the gang rapes, but also had his sentence reduced on appeal, to 19 years with a non-parole period of 11 years. However, on 28 July 2006 he received an additional 15 years, with a minimum of seven and a half years over the Gosling Park attack. Mohammed Skaf will now be eligible for release on parole from 1 July 2019.[6] Skaf showed no remorse for his crimes, making sexually inappropriate remarks to female staff at the Kariong juvenile facility where he was incarcerated, and continued to blame his victims for initially agreeing to go with him because "they came out with us as soon as I asked them."[14]
  • Belal Hajeid, then aged 20, was another gang rapist who was convicted and imprisoned for 23 years with a non-parole period of 15 years. Hajeid later had his sentence reduced on appeal.
  • Mohammed Sanoussi, then 18, gang rapist who was sentenced to 21 years with a non-parole period of 12 years for the August 10 and 30 rapes. Sanoussi later had his sentence reduced on appeal. Shortly after Sanoussi's conviction his brother and cousin were banned from visiting him in prison for three months after a rowdy clash with staff at the Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre where he was incarcerated. Shouting broke out when staff removed the visitors after they had tried to pass newspaper clippings to the brothers about their sentencing the previous day.[15]
  • Mahmoud Sanoussi, brother of Mohammed Sanoussi, then aged 17, was sentenced to 11 years and three months imprisonment with parole available after six-and-a-half years. He unsuccessfully appealed against his sentence in 2005. He was released on parole in May 2009, but had his parole revoked in March 2010 due to his drug use.[16]

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