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ITALY: All-Female Court Panel Rule Rape Victim Too Ugly To Be Raped

By Published March 13, 2019

Italian justice system is under worldwide scrutiny following the outrage that has greeted an appeal court ruling that overturned a rape verdict.

The all-female court panel had based its ruling on the argument that the victim was too ugly and had a masculine feature to be a credible rape victim.

Italy’s Justice Ministry has ordered a preliminary inquiry into the verdict that has sparked outrage in Italy, prompting a flash mob outside the Ancona court, where protesters shouted “Shame!” and displayed signs saying “indignation.”

The appeals sentence was handed down in 2017 but the reasons behind it only emerged publicly when Italy’s high court annulled it on March 5 and ordered a retrial. The Court of Cassation said Wednesday its own reasons for ordering the retrial will be issued next month.

Two Peruvian men who were initially convicted of the 2015 rape in Ancona, but the Italian appeals court overturned the verdict and absolved them, finding that she was not a credible witness, noting that the suspects had found her unattractive and too “masculine” to be a credible rape victim.

Cinzia Molinaro, a lawyer for the victim, said her appeal to the Cassation contested a host of procedural problems with the acquittal verdict but said she had also cited the “absolute unacceptability” of the Italian court’s reference to the victim’s physical appearance.

The appeals sentence quoted one of the suspects as saying he found the woman unattractive and had her listed as “Viking” on his mobile phone.

Molinaro noted that the woman, who is also a Peruvian has since returned to Peru. She had suffered such genital trauma in the attack that required stitches.

The Justice Ministry said it was conducting the “necessary preliminary investigations” into the appeals verdict.

Molinaro said the ministry can send investigators to a court to check if there were any problems or omissions in the sentence, even while the case is still under appeal.

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