AN IRAQI asylum seeker who confessed to raping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool, claiming it was a „sexual emergency“, has had his conviction overturned.
A man who was convicted of raping a child at an Austrian pool has had his sentence overturned
Amir A, 20, was visiting the Theresienbad pool in the Austrian capital of Vienna last December as part of a trip to encourage integration.
Following the attack, the accused rapist returned to the pool and was practising on the diving board when police arrived, after the 10-year-old raised the alarm with the lifeguard.
The child suffered severe anal injuries which had to be treated at a local children’s hospital, and is still plagued by serious post-traumatic stress disorder.
In a police interview, Amir A. confessed to the crime; telling officers the incident had been „a sexual emergency“, as his wife had remained in Iraq and he „had not had sex in four months“.
The case sparked outrage across Europe and played a part in the rise of anti-immigration groups
However, in a bizarre twist, the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the conviction, accepting the defence lawyer’s claim that the original court had not done enough to ascertain whether or not the rapist realised the child was saying no.
According to the Supreme Court President Thomas Philipp, while the verdict was „watertight“ with regard to the serious sexual assault of a minor, there was not enough evidence to support the second charge of rape.
The appeal court said the initial ruling should have dealt with whether the offender thought that the victim had agreed with the sexual act, or whether he had intended to act against his will.
The sentence was therefore lifted, although Amir is expected to remain in custody until the rape case returns to the regional court next year.
A court had previously awarded the child’s family £3,700 (€4,700) compensation, after prosecutors described the boy as suffering both physical injuries and „profound depression“.
The child’s mother, who moved to Austria as a Serbian refugee during the civil war, said it made her „blood boil“ to hear Amir describe the incident as a sexual emergency, and added that she regretted telling her five children to treat refugees with the same hospitality she had once received as a new arrival.
The case sparked outrage across both Austria and Europe, causing a backlash against migrants which saw support for anti-immigration groups rise as a result.