The four Moroccans accused of raping a female tourist are finally convicted
The Provincial Court of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, has passed sentence today on the four men charged with ‘gang raping’ a 25-year-old female tourist in Puerto Rico on Christmas Day 2016. According to the judge, “the four men sexually assaulted the victim, taking advantage of the fact that she was semi-conscious, in shock, and unable to defend herself.”
Following the court case, they received sentences ranging from two to eight years and nine months for crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse and attempted robbery with violence.
The incident took place at the Puerto Rico shopping centre in the early hours of Christmas Day morning, after the young Danish woman had been out celebrating Christmas Eve whilst on holiday for a week in the Gran Canaria resort with her boyfriend.
At the end of the night, at around 5.30am, she became separated from her partner when they were asked to leave a venue because it was closing, and this is when the horror story started to take place. Firstly, one of the defendants, Mohamed el Houari, saw the young woman outside the bar and took her to another to ‘go dancing’.
He then tried to take advantage of the fact that "she was in such a state of drunkenness that she could barely stand up" and took her to a quiet corridor on the second floor of the commercial centre, where he tried to kiss her and touch her. The young woman tried to push him away, but rather than stop, el Houari, ripped a gold chain from her neck, pushed her into a corner, and proceeded to rape her.
When he had finished, he pushed the woman to the floor, who according to the sentence, was "stunned" and couldn’t get up, which Mohamed el Houari took advantage of and left her there "in a state of semi-consciousness".
40 minutes later, another of the defendants, Ahmed Abouhafs was told by Mohamed el Houari that the woman had passed out on the terrace, so Abouhafs went to find her. As was seen on the security cameras, he "accessed the back corridor on the second floor with another person who could not be identified, and then he too raped her while this third person was on ‘look out’ in case they were disturbed. At the end of the act, the two men also left the young woman lying on the floor.
Following this, at 6.28am, the other two defendants, Brahim Achbani and Ibrahim Yachou, appeared at the scene of the incidents, have been informed by the previous ones of the “state of drunkenness" in which the victim was, and they too, went to "subject her to acts of a sexual nature".
According to the investigators of the case, these two were identified by images from CCTV leaving the scene after they had sexually abused the woman, fastening their trousers as they walked away.
The Second Section of the sentence highlights the role played by the Guardia Civil, who carried out a "precise, thorough and complex" investigation, given the scant information provided by the victim, and the "circumstance of having to order recordings from different cameras to follow the path taken by all of the people who had contact with her that night, and the forensics department who found DNA of all four men on the victim's clothes.
All four denied sexually abusing her, even though the DNA was found in their semen on her clothes. Following the hearing, the four men were sentenced as follows:
- Mohamed El Houari for committing a crime of sexual assault and another of attempted robbery with violence, for which he was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison, and a payment of 25,000 euros to the victim.
- Ahmed Abouhafs for committing a crime of sexual abuse with carnal access for which he will serve six years in prison and pay the victim 25,000 euros.
- Brahim Achbani and Ibrahim Yachou were both sentenced for two crimes of sexual abuse and for allowing the other to carry out the act, and will serve two years in prison and have to pay 15,000 euros each to the victim.