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BREAKING: In 2000, his gang partook in several Sydney gang rapes involving teenage girls. Now he's free.

Sydney gang rapes

 

 

 

WARNING: The following article contains details about a series of sexual assaults in Sydney 13 years ago. If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of sexual assault, the information may be distressing.

By MAMAMIA TEAM

UPDATE:Despite having his parole revoked more than two weeks ago, it’s been reported that Skaf gang rapist Mohammed Sanoussi will be released from custody.

Previously Sanoussi’s parole had been revoked less than 24 hours after it was granted after New South Wales Attorney-General Greg Smith reportedly sought an intervention when it was revealed that Mohammed Sanoussi planned to live with his brothers – the same brothers who were yesterday charged with bashing a cleaner.

We’ll update the story as more details emerge. 

When Sanoussi was first granted parole, Mamamia reported:

Thirteen years ago, a young man named Mohammed Sanoussi was one of more than a dozen boys and young men who raped several teenage girls in Sydney’s suburbs.

Sanoussi was only 16 years old at the time. He is now 29.

And this week he was granted parole by the State Parole Authority in NSW, three years ahead of his expected release.

The convicted rapist’s release didn’t come without conditions – he will not be allowed to take drugs or drink alcohol, he’ll have to wear an electronic monitoring device, he will take part in psychological and psychiatric treatment.

Sanoussi will not be allowed to have any contact with his victims or anyone under the age of 16. He cannot visit Kings Cross or a specified gym in his home suburb and he is to have no association with members of the Brothers for Life gang.

After almost a year of weekend and day leave from prison, authorities decided Sanoussi was ready to be released into the community on a more permanent basis. That decision came despite opposition from police, who said Mohammed Sanoussi is a man who is easily influenced by his peers and could fall into a life of crime once more.

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There have also been reports that the Brothers for Life gang had been meeting in the house Sanoussi will return to and that his two brothers have links to the gang.

But Sanoussi’s lawyer Ruth Layton says her client is a changed man.

Sydney gang rapes
Bilal Skaf

In the wake of Judge Christie’s decision to grant Sanoussi’s parole, Layton told the media: “He is utterly changed since the teenager who committed that offence”.

“I feel confident that he has matured … and he’s shown cooperation at every stage,” she said.

But that hasn’t stopped many Australians from feeling uneasy about Sanoussi’s release.

Those who remember the rapes and how the successive attacks transfixed the media and disgusted the community, can’t help but feel wary and anxious.

For those who don’t remember the attacks, here’s what you need to know about what happened more than a decade ago.

In 2000, 14 men attacked numerous young women and girls in the Sydney area by luring them into their cars and allegedly threatening them with guns and knives.

The attacks were referred to collectively as the Sydney Gang Rapes. The attackers themselves were often known as the Skaf rapists; after the gang’s leaders Bilal and Mohammed Skaf.

Each of the men who were part of the gang identified as Lebanese Muslims. They were all born and raised in Australia and lived within a few streets of each other in the south-western suburbs of Sydney.

The group would reportedly only target ‘Australian’ (read: white) women and girls. Some of the victims were as young as 14. The gang members would use their mobile phones to orchestrate the attacks and let the others know where to come for the gang rape to occur.

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Despite years of trials, appeals and plea bargains, many details of the gang rapes remain sketchy.

But what we do know for sure is that over a period of two months from August 2000, the group attacked at least seven girls. Sometimes there were just a couple of boys involved in the attacks. Sometimes there were many, many more.

Sometimes their victims got away. Other times the girls were dumped on the side of the road when the gang members had got what they wanted.

In 2001, almost a year after the attacks began, two of the rape victims were interviewed by 60 Minutes’ Liz Hayes. This is a section of the transcript:

LIZ HAYES: Throughout the night the girls were held captive. Their physical abuse was compounded by cruel mind games and racial taunts. Can you tell me specifically the sort of things they said?

SUE: “You deserve it because you’re an Australian.”

LIZ HAYES: They actually said that?

SUE: Yeah.

LIZ HAYES: For both of you, what has been the worst part of that attack?

SUE: Probably being told they were going to kill Jane if I didn’t do anything with them. I had her life in my hands. I didn’t know what to do. How could I live with knowing I could have killed somebody because of what I didn’t want to do?

JANE: There are no words that can express how you are feeling about this. I mean, it was horrible. Something I never want to go through again.

LIZ HAYES: After five hours, the girls were finally released. Jane was dumped at a nearby service station. And then, in one last callous act, Sue was pushed from the vehicle as it sped down the road.

SUE: I just got up and started running and I ran into the petrol station and I saw Jane and she was bawling her eyes out and I went up and threw my arms around her.

Sydney gang rapes
Many of the attacks occurred in the Sydney suburb of Greenacre.

Only 9 of the 14 attackers could be convicted based on the evidence that was before the courts. Between them, they were sentenced to spend a total of 240 years behind bars (before appeals.)

Bilal Skaf was initially sentenced to 55 years in jail with a non-parole period of 40 years. That sentence was later appealed, but Skaf was given an extra 10 years for his role in another rape case. He will be eligible for parole in 2033.

His brother Mohammad was originally sentenced to 32 years but also appealed. He was later given an extra 15 years in jail for his role in another attack and will now will eligible for parole in July 2019.

Sanoussi’s sentence was one of the lesser ones. And now, after 13 years in prison, he will be the first of the gang rapists to once again walk the streets of Sydney.

One of the victims’ father spoke to media in the wake of the decision.

This from Yahoo 7:

‘The father of a Skaf gang rape victim is furious that one of the rapists will be released on parole, saying he should rot in jail. “Let them rot, who cares,” he told the Nine Network. “They don’t pay the price.”‘

UPDATE: In the 24 hours since Sanoussi was granted parole, there have been two significant developments in the case.

1) The NSW Government said it would consider appealing the decision to grant Sanoussi parole because of “some new and relevant information”. That information was reportedly not available to the parole board. 

2) Sanoussi’s two brothers, his cousin and another man were arrested on Thursday and charged with the alleged bashing of a man in Revesby. Three of the men were granted conditional bail but Mohammed Sanoussiwas not because he’s already in jail.

We’ll keep you updated on any more developments as they come.

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