An Afghan national has received a two-year custodial sentence in France after being found guilty of repeatedly breaking into the same apartment at least four times and sexually assaulting the female occupants.
The man, a 26-year Afghan national known only as Najib, committed the offenses during the summer of 2021 at an apartment on rue Caponière in Caen. On various dates throughout July and August 2021, the three young women who share the apartment filed complaints after waking up to the defendant lying next to them in bed in the middle of the night, according to French news outlet Actu.fr.
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“You have to consider the cultural difference and the psychological background,” the Afghan migrant’s attorney said. “Where he comes from, pornographic images on cell phones are common.”
He had been in pre-trial detention since October 2021, having been charged with three counts of sexual assault and a theft charge committed between July and September 2021.
Woken up in the night by an individual in their beds
One woman claimed she had been held firmly by the wrists by the assailant, who proceeded to grope her chest and buttocks. Each time, faced with their reaction, the individual fled. However, he returned later to steal bracelets and the sum of €400.
The young women described the same individual, the same build, and the same hairstyle to the authorities.
The defendant is understood to have initially broken into the apartment by breaking a window, before stealing a key and using this to enter the premises on subsequent occasions.
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An investigation led to Najib, who was in possession of the bracelets and the stolen money but did not acknowledge the sexual abuse. Since he arrived in France in 2017, the man has been in an irregular situation due to his criminal record, which includes theft and fraud. He claims to have fled the Taliban following the kidnapping and assassination of his father, who reportedly worked for the American Red Cross.
Two years out of the four years demanded by the prosecution
Even if the complainants did not formally recognize the individual present in the court, due to the darkness and the wearing of a mask during his acts, his guilt was beyond doubt for the prosecutor Jean-Michel Rotaru.
“It was he who was in possession of the items stolen from the scene, and the three victims described a man who looks a lot like him,” said Rotaru, who sought a four-year sentence for the assailant.
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Najib received two years in prison and is being held in detention. Once released from prison, he will be banned from French territory for 10 years. If it turns out that he still lives in France, socio-legal follow-up will be ordered for three years, with the obligation of psychological and addictology care. If he fails to meet these obligations, he will have to serve an additional year in prison. The defendant is also required to pay €1,500 to each of the three victims for moral damages, as well as €1,600 in legal fees.
The man is now registered with FIJAIS, the file of perpetrators of sexual offenses.