Man sentenced to 6 years in Erasmus rape case

A court in Ghent imposed a 6-year prison sentence on a 41-year-old man from Iran for raping a Finnish Erasmus student in Ghent. The suspect could be identified via DNA research. The 6-year sentence is heavier than what the public prosecutor had demanded.

The facts took place in the night from 18 to 19 October last year, in the Overpoort area where many students go out (archive picture: Ghent's historical centre). The victim, a 23-year-old exchange student from Finland, was pushed into a porch by a 41-year-old man, who sexually assaulted and raped her. When a passer-by intervened, the man fled. However, his hasty escape did not stop him from snatching the girl's mobile phone.

Detectives eventually managed to identify him through DNA research. Despite this, the man kept denying the facts. He claimed he was drunk that night and that he couldn't remember anything. However, he could not explain how it was possible that traces of his DNA were found on the victim's underwear.

The judicial authorities had proposed a 5-year-sentence, but the court eventually imposed 6 years. Moreover, after serving his sentence, the man will be followed by a sentence implementation court for 10 years. The court is considering him as "extremely dangerous" because he doesn't recognise his mental problem.