SWEDEN:: All five men have been acquitted in a high-profile gang rape case in Fittja, reports Expressen.
The court finds that the police investigation is inadequate - while questioning the credibility of the woman during the trial.
"I'm disappointed and feel both dirty and without rights," said the woman, via her lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz.
In August 2016 she went to Fittja to buy drugs. Afterward, she reported that she had been violently gang raped by several men in a stairwell. Up to 20 men may have been on the scene, according to the police investigation.
It took a year before anyone was arrested, and according to prosecutor Markus Hankkio it was due to lack of resources within the police.
In November five immigrant men were charged. Three of aggravated rape, two for aiding and abetting.
According to the prosecutor's and the women's version, she was held and had her hair pulled, she was beaten unconsciously against the stairs and she was threatened with a knife.
Hours after the incident, the woman was examined by a doctor at the hospital. An examination the doctor remembered in questioning a year later because the woman was "so bruised."
"Even though NN meets many vulnerable women, she says that this woman and her injuries were something beyond the ordinary," the court papers read.
Today, Södertörn's District Court announced its verdict: All five men are acquitted.
- The evidence presented by the prosecutor in the main hearing is simply not enough to convict. The information provided by the victim does not coincide and her information is not supported by other evidence," said Erica Hemtke, chief executive officer at Södertörn's District Court.
In the verdict, it is explained what the court considers to be shortcomings in the police investigation. Among other things, that the wrong stairwell was pointed out and investigated, how the women's information was handled by the police, and that how the woman pointed out the perpetrators did not happen correctly. In July 2017, the woman was allowed to see pictures of four suspects and told that they were "locked up."
"The risk of influence in a case like this can hardly be underestimated," the district court writes.
- All parties have agreed that the investigation had shortcomings. During the hearing it became clear that the reason for the prosecution is based on failures, says Hemtke.
According to her, it is clear that the woman has been injured, that there has been at least oral sex and that sperm was found on her clothes - but not that it was a rape.
- What we have to try is the concrete statements about the act by the prosecutor. Something else can and should not be tried, says Hemtke.
The woman has told that she is a drug addict. She feels that just her addiction makes the court not believe her, which the court confirms. The court also finds that the woman was affected by several different substances during the "event" in Fittja.
Attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz represents the woman. She calls the verdict "a shame for our legal system" and intends to appeal.
"No perpetrators should be acquitted for such a cruel and ruthless gang rape. This is the worst gang rape case I've been working on in 26 years. I do not think my client has been given a fair trial and it's due to her background and person," writes Massi Frtiz.
"The victim is not the "perfect victim" of crime but rather belongs to the group of victims who are among the most vulnerable in our society. The goal is evidence that is sufficient for a convicting sentence against the five defendants, who all lied and came with conflicting information," she continues.
Through their lawyers the five men say they will claim damages for the time they have been detained.
Angry Swedes now plan protests because of the outrageous verdict, but the last time that happened, the police mobilized for war.
The article picture shows the scene of the brutal gang rape and the victim's jacket.
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