Libyan soldiers jailed for 12 years for Cambridge rape

Stevie Hertz 16 May 2015

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abugtila have each been jailed for 12 years for raping a man in Cambridge. The Libyan cadets, who had previously been stationed at Bassingbourn Barracks, both pleaded not guilty to rape but were found guilty after CCTV evidence came to light that showed the pair leading the victim to Christ’s Pieces, where the attack took place on 26 October.

The soldiers were in Cambridgeshire as part of training scheme intended to improve the stability and security of Libya, following the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. 2,000 soldiers had been due to undergo training at the Cambridgeshire barracks, but the scheme has since been cancelled due to the sexual assaults and other behavioural issues. The Ministry of Defence [MoD] had said trainees would not be permitted to go off the base unescorted, but rules were later relaxed, leading accusations of “riot nights” from a whistle-blower.

Deputy Inspector Alan Page, of Cambridgeshire Police, said after the men were sentenced, "these men deliberately targeted their victim because of his vulnerability that night, which they took advantage of to commit this callous crime." The victim had previously been drinking.

Lewis Herbert, leader of the Cambridge City Council, has called for the defence secretary to issue a “public apology” for the events in October and the "multiple, catastrophic errors” the MoD had made. Similarly, Andrew Lansley, who was MP for South Cambridgeshire when the attacks took place, told the BBC that "mistakes had been made".

In response, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson "condemned" the incidents and had made clear the training "will not be repeated at Bassingbourn".