On Friday, the Brussels appeals court sentenced six men to prison terms of 6 to 8 years for raping a young woman, filming the rape and distributing the images via Snapchat. The facts took place on the night of October 31, 2020 in an apartment in Vorst that the perpetrators had rented online.

    The victim, a 23-year-old woman, filed a complaint with the police of Asse in Flemish Brabant on November 4, 2020. She stated that she had been raped by several people and stated that the images of the rape were spread. The woman explained that one of her friends had invited her to a party at the apartment in the Brussels municipality. She was there, along with several men and two other young women.

    The boyfriend forced her to inhale nitrous oxide contained in balloons and to take ecstasy. The woman was raped by the boyfriend in the bathroom and then in the living room, while she was almost unconscious. The five other men then each took turns attacking the victim.

    One of the perpetrators filmed the gang rape. The images were then shared in various video fragments on Snapchat. This social network allows you to send photos and videos that disappear after the recipient has viewed them. But several people were able to save the images and handed them over to the police.

    Tougher punishments

    The Brussels Court of Appeal pointed to the seriousness of the facts. “The offenses against the suspects are particularly serious. They did not hesitate to force the victim into sexual acts, repeatedly, for nearly three hours to satisfy their sexual urges, while the victim was clearly in a daze after consuming alcohol, nitrous oxide and ecstasy.”

    The court pointed to the totally disrespectful attitude of the perpetrators during the facts. They allowed SKP to film, according to the court, some smiled at the camera, they allowed close-ups. There was a “total disregard for the physical and moral integrity of the victim”. The investigation also revealed that SKP had committed similar acts two months earlier with a 17-year-old girl in an apartment in Ixelles, also rented via an internet platform.

    The court handed down stricter sentences than in the first instance. JK, the victim’s friend, received seven years in prison and HK six years. In the first instance, they had received a 5-year probation in October 2021. EMK, EM and MMM received 6 years in prison instead of 50 months probation. SKP was sentenced to 8 years in prison, the court now also found him guilty of the facts in Elsene. In the first instance, he had received a 5-year probation, with an acquittal for the earlier rape.