Their sentence was handed down almost 10 years after the fact. Three women were sentenced to 6 years, 8 years and 9 years in prison by the Assize Court of Hauts-de-Seine, on the night of Friday to Saturday. They were found guilty of complicity in rape, violence and forcible confinement of a 15-year-old girl.
Two men were also sentenced to 4 years and 6 years for rape; a third was acquitted. All convictions were accompanied by a warrant of committal. The six accused appeared free on these charges, which date back to April 2014. These are sentences "difficult to accept for the victim in view of the violence of the facts" but which, "certainly, take into account the past years," said his lawyer, Me Clément Diakonoff.
Danaé K, Wendy H. and Christel W., at the time aged 21, 22 and 43, were accused of having detained the victim in an apartment in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine) and of having forced her, under threat of beatings, to have sexual relations with men contacted for this purpose. On the run at the time of the facts, the victim had joined in the Paris region Danaé K. and Wendy H, "old friends" with whom she had quarreled in the past for "boy stories". All three were hosted by Christel W. The three accused were tried for kidnapping "with torture or barbaric acts", procuring and complicity in rape.
"We do not repair the victim and we destroy lives that have been rebuilt"
In its decision delivered shortly before 3 hours after five days of hearing, the Nanterre Assize Court did not retain procuring and requalified the facts of "torture or acts of barbarism" in "voluntary violence in assembly and with weapons".
Wendy H, sentenced to 9 years in prison, burst into tears at the verdict. Several of his relatives came out of the room crying. The attorney general had requested 9 years in prison against her, presenting her as "the most violent", as well as against Christel W, "holder of shame". She had asked 7 years for Danaé K, described as "the right arm of humiliation", retaining the alteration of discernment. Christel W. and Danaé K. were sentenced to 8 years and 6 years respectively.
Against Mahfoud M, Mouloud B. and Raymond A, accused of raping the girl, she had asked for sentences of 7 years in prison with a warrant of committal. Their three counsel had argued for acquittal. Raymond A. was acquitted, Mouloud B. and Mahfoud M. were sentenced to 6 years and 4 years in prison respectively. "That there are such important sentences 10 years after the fact, because of a failure of justice, I find it shocking," regretted Me Stéphane Maugendre, counsel for Mouloud B. "We do not repair the victim and we destroy lives that have been rebuilt, people who have committed nothing else after these facts" of 2014, he added.
"The institution failed" on the delay before the trial
In her closing argument, the attorney general had portrayed "an innocent woman whose body and dignity were reduced to very little for three days" by three women who used her as an "existential release".
On Wednesday, the victim, now 24, told the court about beatings, insults, knife threats, forced sex, which she could not remember in detail. "It is a 15-year-old girl who was treated differently than a living being," said his lawyer, Clément Diakonoff, during his oral argument.
Nearly ten years later, "which (Wendy H.) are you going to convict? The Wendy of 10 years ago or the Wendy of today? ", had asked the jurors his lawyer, Me Mourad Battikh, regretting the "scandalous" delay that elapsed between the facts and the trial. The delay was "aberrant" in this case, had observed Wednesday the president. "The institution has failed," she added.
Christel W, at the time "marginalized" and "isolated", has since "evolved a lot", said his lawyer, Me Quentin Dekimpe, stressing that his client was followed by a psychiatrist and a psychologist. The three defendants expressed "shame" and "regret" throughout the trial, apologizing to the victim on several occasions.