Libyan soldiers convicted for raping man in Cambridge after tracking him like 'hunting dogs'

'They were horrendous, they weren't human...they were sick,' victim said

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The Independent Online

Two Libyan soldiers have been convicted of raping a man they tracked down like “hunting dogs” while stationed in the UK.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, were found guilty of raping and aiding and abetting rape today at Cambridge Crown Court.

Police said the victim, in his 20s, was deliberately targeted in Cambridge because he had been drinking and was alone after a night out.

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The soldiers were stationed at Bassingbourne Barracks in Cambridgeshire

Speaking outside the court, Detective Inspector Alan Page said: “This was a truly horrendous crime and I hope today's result will allow the victim some closure and to begin rebuilding his life.

"He has shown tremendous bravery throughout this whole process and I am grateful to him for the trust he placed in police in ensuring that justice was done.

"These men deliberately targeted their victim because of his vulnerability that night, which they took advantage of to commit this callous crime.”

Mahmoud and Abugtila scoured the streets of Cambridge for a victim after leaving their barracks unsupervised on 26 October last year, the court heard.

Police released CCTV footage of the two men approaching other people, on one occasion talking to a woman and standing in her way as she tries to get past.

Shortly before 3.30am, they found their victim, a “complete stranger” in his mid-20s, in the city centre.

John Farmer, speaking for the prosecution, told Cambridge Crown Court the man had left a wedding party after drinking “formidable” amounts of alcohol and was led to a park.

"He was in no fit state one way or another to consent,” the barrister said.

"They behaved like two hunting dogs who had seen a wounded animal.

"They effectively took him over and, initially not using too much force and later more forcefully, kept him going in the direction they wanted him to go.”

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A still from the CCTV footage that shows the two Libyan soldiers allegedly walking around Cambridge searching for a victim.

Mahmoud and Abugtila took turns raping the man while the other held him down in Christ's Pieces, Mr Farmer said, in an ordeal lasting 40 minutes.

They then left the scene and went to a nearby petrol station, where they called for a taxi.

The court was shown footage of a police interview with the victim, who said: “I cannot believe what I'm saying, they raped me. It was horrible, I feel horrible. Don't say anything to my mum.”

He continued: “They were horrendous, they weren't human. They weren't human people. They were horrendous people, they were sick people.

"They don't deserve to live, they shouldn't be alive."

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The man was attacked in Christ's Pieces, Cambridge

Mahmoud and Abugtila had been undergoing training at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire as part of an agreement by the British Government to help war-torn Libya after the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

Their crime and other reported sexual offences allegedly committed by Libyan troops prompted the Ministry of Defence to send 300 back home early, ending the agreement to put 2,000 soldiers through military training to help rebuild the troubled country.

Army chiefs admitted there had been “disciplinary issues” following the charging of five Libyan military personnel with a spate of sex attacks in Cambridge, including Mahmoud and Abugtila.

Two men pleaded guilty to a separate sexual assault which a court heard involved them stealing bikes to cycle 16 miles from the barracks into the university city before indecently assaulting women in the centre by groping them and trying to put their hands up their skirts.

Additional reporting by PA