BBC World News – 2006-12-04 23:14:45
Marine Given 40 Years for Philippine Rape
BBC World News
(December 4, 2006) — A US marine has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for raping a local woman in the Philippines last year. The sentence was handed down to Lance Corporal Daniel Smith in a Manila courtroom for the rape of the woman in a van at a former US navy base.
Three other defendants, Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, were all cleared of rape.
The case had sparked strong protests from women’s and left-wing groups. About 100 protesters were outside the courthouse for the verdict.
They sang the nationalist song. “My Country,” and called for the end of the Visiting Forces Agreement that covers the use of overseas troops in training exercises.
The attack took place at the former US naval base of Subic Bay, west of Manila, in November last year. Smith, 21, from St Louis, Missouri, had said the sex was consensual. But Judge Benjamin Pozon said the woman was so drunk she could not have consented to sex.
He said the length of the sentence was aimed at “protecting women against the unbridled bestiality of persons who cannot control their libidinous proclivity.”
Smith was also ordered to pay the defendant 100,000 pesos ($2,000) in damages.
The marines had been held in custody at the US embassy, after the US refused to hand them over until the end of the trial. The defendants were stationed in Okinawa, Japan, but had just finished manoeuvres in the Philippines when the attack occurred.
The case created strong emotions in the Philippines, with protesters often appearing at the courtroom. They had held placards including the phrases “Justice for Nicole,” “Jail the Yankees,” and “Rage Against Rape”.
Nicole was the pseudonym given to the victim, now 23, in the case.
Rape Charges for American Marines
BBC World News
(December 28, 2005) — Prosecutors in the Philippines have charged four US marines over the alleged rape of a 22-year-old woman after a visit to a bar.
Charges against two other marines were dropped while the Filipino who drove the van where the alleged rape happened was charged with being an accomplice.
Prosecutor Prudencio Jalandoni asked for the marines to be handed over by the US for detention without bail.
The four, who are in the custody of the US embassy in Manila, deny the charges.
Mr Jalandoni filed his charges at a court in the town of Olongapo, north-west of Manila, near where the alleged rape took place on 1 November.
The Americans have denied participating in or witnessing the incident, which allegedly took place inside a van at Subic Bay free port, a former US naval base. At least one of them did acknowledge having sex with the woman but said it was consensual, Mr Jalandoni said.
The van driver was first seen as a key witness but was later considered as a “co-conspirator”, having apparently done nothing to stop the alleged rape, the prosecutor added. While the US embassy has said it will co-operate with the investigation, it is unclear whether it will hand over the marines.
Mr Jalandoni said evidence suggested the two soldiers cleared were not in the van at the time of the alleged rape.
The Subic Bay authority said earlier that the alleged victim had been visiting a karaoke bar when she met the marines who then reportedly invited her to get into a rented van with them. A few hours later, witnesses said they saw the woman being dumped from the van into a road.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo has called for the perpetrators of the “heinous crime” to be brought to justice.
According to press reports, the Philippine authorities briefly delayed the departure of a US warship while searching for the marines.
US Marines ‘Raped Filipina Woman’
BBC World News
(November 3, 2005) — Five US marines have been detained in the Philippines, accused of raping a local woman. The woman, 22, was allegedly raped by troops who were in the Philippines for joint military exercises.
Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said he was “deeply concerned” about the claims, and the US embassy in Manila said it took the report very seriously. Analysts say the incident could fuel local opposition to America’s military presence in the Philippines.
US troops often take part in counter-terrorism training in the country, together with Filipino soldiers.
According to the French news agency AFP, the Subic Bay authority said the alleged victim had been visiting a karaoke bar when she met the five men, on 1 November. They had then reportedly invited her to get into a rented van with them. A few hours later, witnesses said they saw the woman being dumped from the van into a road.
“The perpetrators of this heinous crime shall be brought to justice,” said Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo. “The US takes reports of violations of US and Philippine law by US military personnel very seriously, and will fully co-operate with the Philippine authorities in the investigation of this incident,” the US embassy in Manila said in a statement.
According to press reports, the Philippine authorities briefly delayed the departure of a US warship while searching for the marines. The five men were then prevented from leaving the country with the rest of their compatriots on Wednesday, and are currently in the custody of the US embassy in Manila.
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