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Afghan Refugee Who Blamed Rape on 'Cultural Differences' Sentenced to 14 Years

Afghan Refugee Who Blamed Rape on 'Cultural Differences' Sentenced to 14 Years

Esmatullah Sharifi, 30, was sentenced today to 14 years in prison after a judge refused to believe that Sharifi did not understand what rape was due to "cultural differences."

Sharifi fled from Afghanistan to Australia in an attempt to escape the Taliban. Once in Australia, though, he raped two women in the course of five days, according to MSN.

"The community does, in fact, need protection from you. Your brutal conduct must be denounced by this court and you must be punished for it," Judge Mark Dean told Sharifi.

Previously, a psychologist had testified that Sharifi had trouble understanding relationships because of his past with the Taliban. He had an "unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relationships," the psychologist said.

Judge Dean rejected that claim, however.

"You well knew the victim was not consenting to the act of sexual penetration you performed. I do not accept that your offending … was the product of an 'unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relationships,'" he told Sharifi.

"The offense committed by you was an extremely serious act of violence," Dean added.

Sharifi will spend 14 years in jail, with a minimum of 11 years; he will be eligible for parole in seven years. According to reports, Sharifi approached an 18-year-old girl who was sitting by herself and offered to take her to a gathering of friends.

Instead, he raped her. And five days later, he forced a 25-year-old woman into his car and raped her. He was supposed to serve 9-and-a-half years for the attack on the 18-year-old, but Judge Dean increased that sentence to 14 years.

Those familiar with the story have expressed relief that justice was served.

"At last, a judge and a country with some sense," said Daily Mail reader Ptolemy.

The Daily Mail has also reported that Sharifi is "likely to be deported back to Afghanistan" after serving his sentence.


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