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Italian court overturned rape convictions saying accuser was 'too ugly' to be credible victim

The decision is being appealed amid protest.

Image source: Time video screenshot

Outrage broke out in Italy this week, after it was revealed that two convicted rapists were acquitted by an appeals court which decided the men's accuser was "too ugly" to be considered a credible victim of sexual assault.

What are the details?

According to Time, the men were originally convicted in 2016 of raping a woman, and the reversal came in 2017. But the details behind the acquittals weren't revealed until last week, when Italy's highest appeals court annulled the ruling and ordered a retrial.

The 2017 decision was made by a panel of three female judges. In defending its ruling, the court noted that the defendants claimed not to be attracted to the woman, citing as evidence the fact that one of the suspects had her listed in his phone contacts as "Viking."

Cinzia Molinaro, the attorney for the alleged victim, told The Guardian, "I read this sentence in 2017 and that's why we referred it to the supreme court. It was disgusting to read; the judges expressed various reasons for deciding to acquit them, but one was because the [defendants] said they didn't even like her, because she was ugly. They also wrote that a photograph [of the woman] reflected this."

On Monday, nearly 200 people showed up to protest outside the courthouse in Ancona, where the ruling was made two years ago, according to People. Demonstrators chanted, "Shame!" and held up sings that read, "indignation."

Anything else?

The victim and both suspects in the case are all Peruvian. The alleged attack occurred in 2015, when the men allegedly spiked the woman's drink at a bar before sexually assaulting her. Physicians examined her after the incident, and reportedly believed her injuries were "consistent with rape." A high level of benzodiazepines were found in her blood, but it is not clear what specific drug was in her system.

Molinaro said her client moved back to Peru after being ostracized in Ancona for reporting the men.

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