Plea deal

3 Australian rapists avoid jail time in Croatia after paying $22,000

Three young Australian men who pled guilty to raping a 17-year old girl were able to avoid a lengthy jail sentence and return to Australia after paying the victim $22,000. The three men, Dylan Djohan, 23, Ashwin Kumar, 23, and Waleed Latif, 21, were arrested in July 2015 after assaulting a 17-year old Norwegian girl in a bar in Split, Croatia. One of them had taken the girl “by force” to the bathroom, where the two others joined him in assaulting her, before the girl was eventually able to fight them off. Their DNA evidence was found on the girl’s clothing, but two of the men originally claimed that the sex was consensual, while a third denied being involved in the attack.

They were set to stand trial in February, and could have faced up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, but their lawyers were able to arrange a plea deal before the court date. The three men were given a one-year sentence, which was commuted to a five-year good behavior bond, and paid the victim €20,000 (or $22,000). “If they can afford it, those who are indicted will pay for the best lawyers, pay the damages and receive a minimum sentence or even go free. In a democratic state, everyone should have the same treatment, regardless of their wealth or assets,” Croatian women’s rights campaigner Sanja Sarnavka told local media, but added that she understands the girl’s decision to accept the money, to avoid reliving the incident during a protracted trial.

The three men are said to be part of a “hypermasculine” bodybuilding culture, celebrated by Djohan in his social media posts. “Pick up a dumbbell and join me in Valhalla!” he wrote. “Summer’s over but the glow of the gods remains with the aesthetic ones.”

He also referred to his “beard of the Valkyries” and “jawline carved out of granite by Zeus himself.”

“My gift from the gods was this blessed block of heathen marble. My curse from the gods is that I must sculpt it with my bare hands.”

Elsewhere, he offered his life philosophy: “Let me teach you the secret to living a 10/10 heavenly blessed life; Disregard work, acquire attractive women.”

Nicola Henry, a senior lecturer in crime, justice and legal studies at La Trobe University, in Australia, told the Age that Djohan’s posts reflected typical issues around masculine entitlement and the objectification of women. “[Social media] provides this space to consolidate distorted views around gender and sexuality,” without inhibition and with added male peer support, she said.

Read the full story at The Independent and The Age.

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