World

MEBOURNE (Web Desk) – Three Australian men have escaped over a decade in jail despite admitting to raping a 17-year-old Norwegian girl in Croatia.

Instead, after paying the victim around $22,000, they were allowed to walk free, the Russia Today reported on Monday.

Dylan Djohan, 23, Ashwin Kumar, 23, and Waleed Latif, 21, who are all from Melbourne, were originally given a one-year prison sentence. However, this was immediately downgraded to a five-year good behavior bond, meaning the men would not have to spend any time behind bars, according to Fairfax.

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The rape took place in the city of Split in 2015 at a late night bar, where the three men sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Norwegian backpacker. However, the group was able to avoid a trial and a possible 15-year jail sentence after they agreed to pay the girl €20,000 ($22,000), which has angered women’s rights campaigners.

“If they can afford it, those who are indicted will pay for the best lawyers, pay the damages and receive a minimum sentence or even go free. In a democratic state, everyone should have the same treatment, regardless of their wealth or assets,” Croatian women’s rights campaigner Sanja Sarnavka told the local media.

Prosecutors assert the men had plotted to rape the girl and one of them dragged her into the toilets before the other men joined in and proceeded to sexually assault her.

A doctor’s report showed that intercourse had taken place. However, two of the men said the sex was consensual, while the third said he had not taken part.

The three men were part of a larger Australian group, who had headed to Ibiza before traveling to Croatia for a music festival. The men said the girl was drinking with them before the attack took place, while the majority of witnesses supported the accounts given by the Australian males. Staff and security at the bar did not report any incidents.

The three men spent seven months in Croatia awaiting trial for rape after police seized their passports in July last year. However, with the case settled, they have now all returned home to Melbourne.