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‘Infidelity check’ not rape, court rules

AFP-JIJI

A Swedish court Thursday overturned the rape conviction of a man who performed a forced “infidelity check” on his girlfriend, prompting calls for the country’s rape laws to be changed.

Rachid Zoghlami was convicted of rape and sentenced to two years and eight months in jail in December after he penetrated his girlfriend, Carina Johansson, 30, with his fingers to determine whether she had been unfaithful.

But a court of appeal in Stockholm ruled that the 28-year-old’s actions were to be viewed as coercion rather than rape, since they were not driven by “sexual intent,” and reduced his jail sentence to 18 months.

“I believe this judgment is erroneous. My client is obviously disappointed. She finds it hard to understand the court’s reasoning,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Marianne Jargenius, said Thursday.

Zoghlami, who holds dual Finnish-Tunisian citizenship, admitted to being jealous but said he had used no violence against Johansson when using two fingers to “search for sperm.” Johansson argued otherwise, claiming he ripped off her sweat pants and her underwear after allegedly threatening to perform an “infidelity check.”

The plaintiff and defendant had both taken a prescription drug used to treat alcoholism during their relationship, the court noted.

The ruling prompted calls for the Swedish law to be changed to broaden the definition of a sexual crime. “If I were to decide, these types of actions should be considered a sex crime,” Petter Asp, a professor of criminal law at Stockholm University, told the daily Svenska Dagbladet.