Men jailed for filming attacks

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The Independent Online

Three young men have been jailed after filming themselves assaulting rough sleepers in Barcelona.

Three young men have been jailed after filming themselves assaulting rough sleepers in Barcelona.

Seven friends, aged between 18 and 20, used a digital mini-camera to film the attacks they made over a period of nine nights last month.

The tape showed them laughing as they hit and insulted beggars, tormented an elderly woman and smoked hashish through a bottle.

They were arrested on Sunday night when a passer-by saw them attacking a beggar and called the police.Their arrests were caught on camera. Four were freed on bail on Tuesday and three sentenced to preventive detention.

The youngsters, from comfortable backgrounds, were mostly students. One was studying engineering, another prosthetic dentistry. And the cameraman was studying audiovisual communication.

The tape showed them hurling a bottle at a homeless man while he was sleeping. When he woke, they flung his cushions them in his face, as well as his cigarettes and a lit match. Another sequence showed the group banging on a front door with a metal bar and intimidating a terrified elderly woman inside, claiming they were police and ordering her to open up.

"Youthful pranks," they said in their defence. But the magistrate condemned the acts as a "cause of social alarm" although he conceded that no one had been seriously hurt.

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