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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 31 July, 2014

Swedish court overturns rape conviction after forced ‘infidelity check’

A court in Stockholm says Rachid Zoghlami’s actions were not driven by sexual intent, prompting calls for a reform.

Image: CHRISTOPHE ENA/AP

A SWEDISH COURT has overturned a rape conviction for a man who performed a forced “infidelity check” on his girlfriend, prompting calls for rape laws to be changed.

Rachid Zoghlami was convicted of rape and sentenced to two years and eight months in jail in December, after he penetrated his girlfriend with his fingers to determine whether she had been unfaithful.

But a court of appeal in Stockholm ruled that the 28-year-old’s actions were to be viewed as coercion rather than rape since they weren’t driven by “sexual intent”, then reduced his sentence to 18 months behind bars.

“I believe this judgement is erroneous. My client is obviously disappointed. She finds it hard to understand the court’s reasoning,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Marianne Jargenius, told AFP.

Zoghlami, who holds dual Finnish-Tunisian citizenship, admitted to being jealous but said he used no violence against girlfriend Carina Johansson, 30, when using two fingers to “search for sperm.”

Johansson argued otherwise, claiming he ripped off her sweat pants and her underwear after allegedly threatening to perform an “infidelity check.”

The plaintiff and defendant had both taken a prescription drug used to treat alcoholism during their relationship, the court noted.

The ruling prompted calls for the Swedish law to be changed to broaden the definition of a sexual crime.

“If I were to decide, these types of actions should be considered a sex crime,” Petter Asp, a professor of criminal law at Stockholm University told daily Svenska Dagbladet.

- © AFP, 2013

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