Cambridgeshire

Libyan cadet assault victim angered by asylum appeals

(Left to right) Mohammed Abdalsalam, Naji El Maarfi, Khaled El Azibi Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Mohammed Abdalsalam, Ibrahim Naji El Maarfi and Khaled El Azibi (left to right) were jailed for attacking women

A woman who was sexually assaulted by three Libyan cadets stationed near Cambridge has spoken of her anger after they claimed asylum in the UK.

Khaled El Azibi, Ibrahim Naji El Maarfi and Mohammed Abdalsalam fled Bassingbourn Barracks and carried out the attacks in the city last October.

They were jailed but have now been released and are seeking asylum.

Their victim said she was angered by their "arrogance to apply for asylum after committing despicable crimes".

The woman, who comes from Cambridge, said seeing her attackers' faces again had "brought what happened flooding back".

"They subjected me to a horrible, intimidating sexual assault which I will never be able to forget."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Three women were attacked close to Cambridge Corn Exchange in October last year

The cadets were among 300 being trained to support the newly-formed Libyan government.

They arrived at the Cambridgeshire barracks in June 2014. Following attacks on three women and one man in Cambridge in October, the remaining cadets were returned to Libya early in November.

'An insult'

The three trainees convicted of sexually assaulting the women on 26 October, received sentences of between 10 and 12 months and have since been released from prison.

Cambridgeshire Police confirmed they were now in detention centres and had applied for asylum.

"It is not only an insult to me and the other women they attacked but an insult to all those people who genuinely need asylum here," the victim added.

"They have brought this on themselves and should never be granted asylum."

Image caption The first tranche of about 300 Libyan recruits arrived for training at Bassingbourn in June 2014
Image caption The Libyan troops were the first of 2,000 due to be trained at the barracks near Cambridge

The grounds on which El Azibi, El Maarfi and Abdalsalam are claiming asylum have not been revealed.

However, the woman's solicitor, Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon, described it as "a cynical asylum bid by attackers who don't appear to have shown any contrition for their awful crimes".

"We have now written to the prime minister, David Cameron, on behalf of the victims to register their serious concerns about the situation," he said.

"If an application like this were to succeed it would bring the asylum system into disrepute at a time when many are in genuine need of sanctuary from war and persecution."

The Home Office, which does not comment on individual cases, said: "Those who break our laws should be removed from the country at the earliest opportunity and we will seek to remove any foreign national offender who receives a custodial sentence for a criminal offence."

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