Convicted Libyan soldiers in sexual assault case seeking asylum

Image credit: jiunn kang too

Three Libyan soldiers who were jailed for a number of sexual assaults in Cambridge have been released and are now seeking asylum.

Khaled El Azibi, Ibrahim Naji El Maarfi and Mohammed Abdalsalam were among 300 Libyan cadets receiving military training by the Ministry of Defence when the attacks occurred. Failings in security allowed the men to steal bikes and cycle ten miles into the city centre on 26 October 2014.

The sexual assaults took place in the Market Square area at around 10:30pm, and involved one female on her own and two together.

The offenders were jailed for between ten to twelve months but have all now been released into the custody of immigration centres. The grounds on which they are claiming asylum have not been revealed.

The solicitor of one of the women, Richard Scorer, expressed his dismay at the news: “It’s difficult enough to recover from a situation where you’re set upon by a stranger and sexually assaulted. But if you have to do that in the knowledge that that person has now come to this country and is trying to build a life here, I think that is very, very, very difficult to deal with, and completely wrong and unacceptable.”

In contrast, one second year historian commented: “If they do legitimately fear persecution on return to Libya, then they should gain asylum. They have served their sentences and, assuming they are remorseful, should be allowed an opportunity for reintegrate.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner stated: ‘It does seem possible that these people may not be sent back because it is not safe for them. None of this would have happened if the MoD and Secretary of State for Defence hadn’t taken a gamble with people’s safety by letting these people out unsupervised in Cambridge.’

Following the attacks, the MoD returned all Libyan soldiers based at Bassingbourn home, except from a small number who claimed asylum. At the time, the Prime Minister stated that no soldier involved should be granted asylum.

The Home Office, which does not comment on individual cases, said: "Those who break our laws should be removed from the country at the earliest opportunity and we will seek to remove any foreign national offender who receives a custodial sentence for a criminal offence."

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