Afghan refugee who said raping woman was part of 'cultural differences' is jailed for 14 years


Senior News Editor since 2011

Afghan refugee who said raping woman was part of 'cultural differences' is jailed for 14 years

Esmatullah Sharifi, 30, targeted the drunk teenager outside a nightclub
Said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn't understand what 'consent' was

PUBLISHED: 05:56 EST, 12 April 2012 | UPDATED: 06:10 EST, 12 April 2012

An Afghan man who fled from the Taliban to begin a new life in Australia will spend the next 14 years behind bars after a judge rejected his claim that cultural differences had led to him raping a woman.

Esmatullah Sharifi, 30, was told by Judge Mark Dean in Melbourne that his background as a traumatised Muslim refugee was no excuse for the rape of a drunken and vulnerable teenager.

The judge noted that a psychologist had told the Victoria County Court in Melbourne that Sharifi, who arrived in Australia in 2001, had an 'unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relationships'.

Rejecting that argument, the judge said Sharifi's background and flight from the Taliban was not an excuse for violence, telling the Afghan: 'You well knew the victim was not consenting to the act of sexual penetration you performed.'

It was not the first time that Sharifi had appeared in court on a rape charge - in 2009 he was jailed for a minimum of seven years for the abduction and sexual assault of a woman on Christmas Eve, 2008 - five days after he had raped the teenager.

Already serving seven years imprisonment for that offence, he was now charged with raping the 18-year-old who he had found alone, intoxicated and sitting on the pavement near a nightclub after she had had a disagreement with her friends.

Sharifi, the judge said, had driven from his home that night in December looking for a victim.

He sat down beside the teenager, began talking to her and offered to drive her to a hotel where her friends had moved on to.

But when he drove off in a different direction, the young woman became concerned and texted her friends - until Sharifi took her phone and drove to a dark street.

The teenager cried and asked if he planned to kill her. He replied by putting his hand around her neck and forcing her to remove her clothes before raping her.

'Your offending is of the utmost seriousness,' said Judge Dean.

'You preyed upon a young vulnerable stranger who was alone and intoxicated at night. Your brutal conduct must be denounced by this court.'

Sharifi, who pleaded guilty to rape, will serve a sentence that includes his jailing for the second sexual attack. It was DNA from that second offence that led to him being charged with the earlier rape of the teenager.

With a maximum sentence of 14 years set, he will have to serve a minimum of 11 years and will be eligible for parole in seven years and eight months.

He is likely to be deported back to Afghanistan when he has served his sentence.


Senior News Editor since 2011
Rapist's sentence cut after judge ignored trauma of life under Taliban

May 27, 2013 10:09PM

A SERIAL rapist has had his sentence reduced by 2 1/2 years after the Victorian Court of Appeal found the sentencing judge erred in giving no weight to a psychologist's report on his likelihood of reoffending and background as a refugee from Afghanistan.

In April last year, 32-year-old Esmatullah Sharifi was sentenced to 14 years' jail with a non-parole period of 11 years after he pleaded guilty to two charges of rape and one of false imprisonment over two attacks on women which occurred within five days of one another in December 2008.

Sharifi was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman on December 19 and a 25-year-old woman on Christmas Eve.

Last month, he was granted leave to appeal against the sentence for the December 19 rape. The rape occurred after Sharifi struck up a conversation with the drunk 18-year-old woman outside a nightclub in Melbourne's southeast and offered her a lift to a pub to meet with friends who had abandoned her.

He then drove her to a dark street and raped her.

In reducing Sharifi's sentence to 12 1/2 years, with an minimum of 8 1/2 years, Court of Appeal judges Peter Buchanan, David Ashley and Robert Redlich gave weight to an observation made by the prosecutor that the victim "had the impression that despite her tears and protests Mr (Sharifi) was acting as if she was a willing participant".

The judges also gave weight to the fact Sharifi had driven his victim to her friend's home after the rape, as well as a March 2012 psychologist's report. The report found he had suffered depressive and post-traumatic symptoms at the time of the offence.

"He was very isolated. He was inexperienced in forming relationships with women and possessed an unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relations. These factors in combination heightened the probability of the commission of the offence," the psychologist found.

In his overturned 2012 sentence, Victorian County Court judge Mark Dean found Sharifi had deliberately sought out vulnerable, drunk women to rape. He did not accept Sharifi's flight from the Taliban as an excuse.

"The offence . . . was an extremely serious act of violence, and . . . you well knew the victim was not consenting," Justice Dean said. "You have no remorse or insight into your offending."

Sharifi will be eligible for parole in 2016.


Senior Reporter
That refusegee needs to part with his "manhood" and be a "woman" for some strong nigger inmate.