Rape victim jumped into the sea to escape alleged aggressor

A 20-year-old man is charged with raping a woman in Valletta early on Tuesday

Court hears how woman jumped into the sea to escape her rapist (File photo)
Court hears how woman jumped into the sea to escape her rapist (File photo)

A young woman who had just been raped, jumped into the sea to escape her aggressor, the court heard on Wednesday in the case against a 20-year-old man.

Qasem Saleh, an asylum seeker from Syria, was remanded in custody, after being charged with the rape of the woman he had been dating.

Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia heard how on Tuesday at around 2:45am, police received a report about an alleged rape that had occurred in Valletta. The alleged victim was the one who phoned the emergency line, saying that she had just been physically and sexually assaulted.

With the help of an interpreter, Saleh who lives in Fgura, said that he works as a labourer in the construction industry. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the prosecution, the victim had jumped into the sea along Triq il-Mediterran to escape the aggressor. When police arrived on the scene, they found her in the water and the accused, who was still in the area, was arrested.

No request for bail was filed by defence lawyer Mario Mifsud, who however requested that the prosecution bring the victim to testify at the first opportunity. The lawyer also asked that the accused be sent to the juvenile section, since he is only 20 years old. The court acceded to the request latter request.

The magistrate also issued a protection order in favour of the victim and ordered the accused not to approach or communicate with her in any manner, even while under preventive arrest. The order was to remain in force until final judgment.

The prosecution was led by inspectors John Spiteri and Kevin Pulis, whilst Sean Azzopardi appeared for the Attorney General.