A young French woman, who was the victim of a convicted Iranian serial rapist, made a passionate appeal on social media for any help she could get to effectively put a man behind bars who walked free from court right after his sentencing and may serve no prison time at all. Her video appeal generated 1.3 million views on Twitter before the post was deleted.
“Is it normal ? (…) I wonder what it takes for someone to go to prison when a victim has been raped?” asked one of the victims, Karine Sanzalone, in a video posted to social media. Originally posted on Instagram, where it has been deleted, a journalist from Figaro also posted the video, which had 1.3 million views before it was also deleted. It is unclear why the videos were removed.
“I ask anyone who can help me today to contact any media because we have 10 days to be able to appeal,” she continued while crying.
We wondered what “we could have done more; our lawyers also wondered how they could have obtained a fairer sentence. Such a verdict raises doubts, but these supporters reassure us that we are not totally outside reality,” she says. “With #MeToo, I have the impression that we have now talked about it enough in the media, that society had become aware of the seriousness of sexual violence.”
She has since appeared on French news channels CNews, then on BFM TV, to share the horrifying incident with viewers; however, she said she has no other option but to rely on the French court system, according to a report from French news outlet Valeurs Actuelles.
“I trust justice because I have nothing else but it,” she said.
On June 29, Bamdad A., who is originally from the Iranian city of Tehran, allowed the victim to enter his taxi, made sexual advances and applied “physical and moral pressure,” despite the fact that the victim exhibited no signs of consent.
The case occurred in 2016 and was followed by two similar attacks by the perpetrator on different victims. In one case, he offered a free ride to a young woman for sex. In all three cases, the victims stated in court that they were effectively raped on the back seat of the taxi.
The Iranian migrant was already convicted of theft in 2010, contempt of court in 2015, sexual assault against three minors in 2016, and physical assault also in 2016. The man was convicted of sexual assault just shortly before he raped Sanzalone and other women in his taxi. Bamdad A. never served any prison time for any of the offenses he was convicted of.
Confessed to the crime
In court testimony, the perpetrator admitted to the sexual advances, but said he was “encouraged by the tone of the women.” Bamdad A. was convicted by the jury in Essonne to six years, of which two years were to be effectively in prison, but those two years were commutable. After the verdict, he walked free.
“For an offense committed before March 24, 2020, when the sentence is less than or equal to two years, it can only be adjusted if the situation and personality of the convicted person allow it, and absent material impossibility,” the French public administration wrote on its website.
This means that it is up to the judge deciding on the sentence, and the perpetrator has every chance of not having to serve a single day in prison.
In another interview, Karine said after the verdict, “Despite everything, despite his acknowledgment of guilt, he emerged victorious from the trial. He was celebrating the judgment with his family. The court tells us that we are not judging the same man, that six years have passed since, that he has stabilized his life, that he has a 2-year-old daughter. And during this time, we the victims now cannot move forward.”