Facebook ‘live rape’: Trial begins in Sweden for 3 men suspected of streaming gang-rape online

Facebook ‘live rape’: Trial begins in Sweden for 3 men suspected of streaming gang-rape online
A trial has begun in Sweden of three men arrested in January on suspicion of gang raping a woman and livestreaming the crime on Facebook.

The three men – two Afghans aged 18 and 21, and a 24-year-old Swede – appeared before an Uppsala court on Wednesday. The two younger men were charged with rape while the 24-year-old was charged with defamation for spreading the video on social media, and is also accused of facilitating the rape by not doing anything to stop it. Despite having a phone in his hand, he never dialed 112 (the Swedish emergency number), even though several people online asked him to intervene, GP reported. Instead, the man allegedly laughed and encouraged his friends.

The two other men admit to having sex with the woman, but claimed it was consensual.

“He admits that there has been sexual contact between him and the plaintiff. However, it happened an hour before this Facebook film. So it was a completely different scenario,” the 21-year-old defendants’ lawyer told reporters, as quoted by The Local.

The unnamed victim, who is in her thirties, had been out drinking and came to the accused perpetrator’s house to hang out, Expressen reports.  Samples taken from the victim show she had a high alcohol level in her blood, and eight witnesses called forward by the prosecution say she was not moving, which according to The Local is considered a particularly vulnerable situation by Swedish law.

"It was as if she was dead or like a doll," said one witness, as reported by UNT.

Some of the viewers of the livestream apparently egged the men on, while others called the police, who arrived on the scene as the stream was still going. Deputy chief prosecutor Magnus Berggren said his team is still waiting to receive the full video from Facebook.

The woman had no idea what had happened and only found out later when a friend called, UNT reported. She couldn’t believe it at first and apparently even tried to defend her alleged rapists.

Prosecutor Pontus Melander has called for the two Afghans to be deported and banned from entering Sweden for at least 15 years, while the woman is asking for 395,000 Swedish kroner (around $45,000) from the three men for compensation.

The trial is being held behind closed doors due to its sensitive nature and the young age of one of the accused.