Thursday, July 30, 2015

Five Libyan soldiers jailed for night of drunken rampaging through city streets in which man was raped and four women sexually assaulted

  • Men had been training in the UK as part of agreement to help Libya 
  • Moktar Ali Sadd Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abugtila convicted of raping man
  • Ibrahim El Maarfi, Mohammed Abdalsalam, and Khaled El Azibi admitted assault of four women on same night
  • All five were jailed and will be deported back to Libya after being released   
Five Libyan soldiers have been jailed for a night of drunken rampaging through a city centre in which a man was raped and four women sexually assaulted.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, were jailed for 12 years for the rape of a drunken man who they pounced on like a pair of 'hunting dogs.'

The took turns to brutally assault their drunken victim in a Cambridge park after leaving their barracks without permission.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33
Ibrahim Abugtila, 23
Guilty: Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, were jailed for 12 years for the rape of a man 

They were among 300 Libyan trainees stationed at Bassingbourn, near Cambridge when they struck last October.

They denied rape and aiding and abetting rape but were found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court today after a trial.

It can now be reported that three other Libyan soldiers from the same base have also been jailed for sexually attacking four women in the same night in Cambridge.

They went on a drunken rampage in the university city after stealing bikes and cycling the 10 miles from Bassingbourn.

Fuelled by alcohol, they roamed the streets looking for victims and pounced four times in the space of an hour on October 26 last year.

They groped the terrified women, attempted to put their hands up their skirts and exposed themselves.

Ibrahim El Maarfi, 21, Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, and Khaled El Azibi, 19, all admitted assault.

El Maarfi also admitted indecent exposure and Abdalsalam admitted threatening behaviour towards a police officer.

El Azibi was jailed for 12 months and the other two were both locked up for 10 months and all three will all be deported after their sentences from Norwich Crown Court.

The male rape victim was a man in his 20s who had been at a wedding and he described his attackers as 'horrendous' and 'not human'.

Prosecutor John Farmer said the two were seen on CCTV leading him to Christ's Pieces park.
He said: 'They behaved like two hunting dogs who had seen a wounded animal.

'They effectively took him over and, initially not using too much force and later more forcefully, kept him going in the direction they wanted him to go.'
Ibrahim El Maarfi
Khaled El Azibi
Ibrahim El Maarfi, 21, Khaled El Azibi, 19, and Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, were all jailed

In the park, the defendants took it in turns to rape the man while the other held him down.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told officers: 'I cannot believe what I'm saying, they raped me. It was horrible, I feel horrible. Don't say anything to my mum.' 

Describing them as 'animals', he added: 'I was trying my hardest. I was trying my hardest and they were like overpowering me.'

The man told officers: 'They were horrendous, they weren't human. They weren't human people. They were horrendous people, they were sick people.

'They don't deserve to live, they shouldn't be alive.'

Mahmoud and Abugtila will also be deported after serving their sentences.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Alan Page, who led the investigation, said: 'This was a truly horrendous crime and I hope today's result will allow the victim some closure and to begin rebuilding his life.

'He has shown tremendous bravery throughout this whole process and I am grateful to him for the trust he placed in police in ensuring that justice was done.

'These men deliberately targeted their victim because of his vulnerability that night, which they took advantage of to commit this callous crime.' 

More than 300 Libyan trainees arrived at Bassingbourn in June, but were sent back to Libya after the sex crimes surfaced. 


When villagers in Bassingbourn first raised fears about Libyan soldiers being trained on the local army base, they felt their concerns were dismissed as unfounded Nimbyism.
But within months of the troops' arrival last June, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) scheme to train the troubled country's new military lay in tatters after a string of sex attacks on members of the public, reports of disturbances around the base and a 'collapse of discipline' on it.
Following the arrests of five of the soldiers in November, some 300 men - a mix of established armed forces, new recruits and former revolutionaries - were sent back to Libya early.
It brought to an end an agreement to train 2,000 men to support the newly-recognised government following the 2011 collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
A risk assessment later released by the MoD under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the military had concerns about the potential conduct of the cadets from the start.
It raised particular concerns about cultural attitudes to sexual violence and reports of war-related rapes and attacks.
Baaingbourn Barracks in Cambridge where all five men where being trained as part of an agreement with Libya
Baaingbourn Barracks in Cambridge where all five men where being trained as part of an agreement with Libya

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told Parliament there were 'things we could have done better' and he admitted regrets over the way it was handled.
Peter Robinson, chairman of Bassingbourn Parish Council, said: 'Our concerns were dismissed from the start - they were determined this was going ahead and we were treated like hysterical locals.
'Now, sadly, our concerns have been completely vindicated - it's just a shame it had to happen in such a terrible way.'
Residents first became concerned when they were told their usual access to facilities on the base was to be restricted for 'security reasons'.
'We weren't sure if this was to protect the Libyans from us or to protect us from them,' Mr Robinson said.
'We started thinking 'Are these men really so dangerous that we can't be allowed anywhere near them?'.
'It soon became clear these weren't really soldiers at all.
'There was no real vetting, no command structure and they were coming from a chaotic country with no regard to the rules and regulations we take for granted.'
There were unconfirmed reports of the cadets storming the guardroom after one of their number was disciplined and regular Thursday night outbreaks of disorder.
Residents described finding soldiers hiding under cars, wandering the streets drunk and engaging in anti-social behaviour.
A MoD investigation later found the first signs of trouble in August when a shop worker reported being molested and recruits were spotted out unsupervised on three occasions.
Cambridgeshire Police were forced to deny 'incidents of disorder' but said officers had increased their presence in the area as 'reassurance' after riot vans were seen lining up in the high street.
Mr Robinson said: 'In some ways I feel sorry for the Army: they were given a poisoned chalice.
'There was no discipline among the soldiers and they had no real sanctions for when they stepped out of line.
The Libyan soldiers have all now been sent home and a assessment released by the MOD revealed they had concerns about soldiers conduct
The Libyan soldiers have all now been sent home and a assessment released by the MOD revealed they had concerns about soldiers conduct

'We tried to go along with this but every promise and assurance we were given was broken.'
The security and risk assessment document prepared before the troops' arrival claimed that before travelling to the UK, all cadets were vetted by both Libyan and British authorities.
But the report said 'full background information' on trainees was unlikely to be available.
The MoD has since said it will not carry out similar exercises at Bassingbourn - but such schemes could take place elsewhere in the UK.
A spokeswoman said: 'We have been clear that we will not be repeating this training at Bassingbourn.
'Training of foreign recruits in the UK on this scale is unusual. We would normally seek to undertake any such activity, where invited, in the host country.
'However, where we conduct UK-based training of foreign forces in the future, we will apply lessons from the conclusions of this report.'
Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert said lessons must be learned from the Bassingbourn experience.
He said: 'We were told that there were a string of bad decisions which led to this but the most important was closing off other options of where, other than the UK, to train troops from a lawless and chaotic country.
'Soon after they arrived, the Libyan government stopped paying the troops, their officers were useless and the Army were desperately trying to keep them under control.
'It is clear from this that it is simply not viable to train troops from such a background, with no established command structures, on home soil, and we were told this would not happen again.'

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