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Notorious Skaf gang rapist Mohamed Sanoussi set for jail release

A gang rapist who took part in a series of sickening, sexual assaults which caused national outrage is being groomed for jail release.
Mohamed Sanoussi was a member of the notorious Skaf gang which went on a four-week rampage of sexual assault before the Sydney Olympics 2000.
A prison source has told news.com.au that Sanoussi is in a minimum security wing of Sydney's Long Bay Jail in Sydney on a pre-release program called Ngara Nura and has already qualified for weekend release into the community.
Sanoussi could be back into the community in as little as 29 days.
Sanoussi was one of 14 Lebanese Australian Muslims led by Bilal Skaf who committed a series of gang rape attacks against Australian women and teenage girls over a four-week period.
One of the victims was raped 25 times by a total of 14 men at Bankstown, in Sydney's west, in an ordeal that lasted six hours, during which the attackers called her an "Aussie Pig" and told her she would be raped "Leb-style".
Two 16-year-old girls were raped repeatedly over five hours and told "you deserve it because you're Australian".
Victims of Crime Assistance League campaigner Howard Brown said the current parole system may be insufficient to properly supervise Sanoussi on his release.
"Mohamed Sanoussi has completed a sex offenders' course and has been classified for release on parole, but the there's no longer a system in place which gives proper supervision to serious sex offenders," he said.
"As recent cases show there has been an erosion of public confidence in the justice system.
"When a [sex offender] will be released, we have to keep really close tabs on him.
"But supervision has to be random. It used to be (that) we had a team who would knock on the doors of serious sex offenders at three in the morning, but that was abandoned for political reasons.
"Now parole officers work nine to five and ring up offenders to organise a meeting to check on how they are going."
Sanoussi, now aged 29, has served 12 years of a maximum 16-year sentence which is due to expire in late 2016 for his role in two of the four gang rapes in 2000.
He successfully appealed against an original 21-year sentence.
He was involved in the Bankstown rapes and assaults on two women in a park who were forced to give oral sex to eight males.
The NSW State Parole Authority refused his application last year, but ordered he be prepared for weekend leave to "encourage his successful integration into the community".
Sanoussi will appear before the parole board on July 26, when he is expected to be granted release. Mr Brown said he had been progressed to the lowest security classification of a C3. "They are manoeuvring him for release," he said.
A Skaf gang rape victim, who spoke with news.com.au through her mother, said news of Sanoussi's release brought back memories of her horrifying ordeal.
"Her life is like swimming with shoes on," the victim's mother said.
NSW Attorney General Greg Smith last week ordered an urgent review of the parole system after a NSW man on parole for murder was charged with intent to murder another woman and attempted rape.
A spokeswoman for Mr Smith said new measures would increase supervision of serious offenders, "while reducing duplication and eliminating inconsistent standards".
The new system focuses the highest levels of supervision on those offenders who need it and eliminates over-servicing of offenders on less serious offences, including fraud.
"The new system which is used for all offenders, is based on a new risk assessment model.
"This government takes supervision of parolees very seriously and is committed to ensuring the safety of the community is paramount."
Sanoussi's expected release conditions will include electronic monitoring and drug and alcohol abstinence.

news.com.au (28-6-2013)
Candace Sutton

Mahmoud Sanoussi             Mohamad Sanoussi             Bilal Skaf             Mohammed Ghanem

Gang rape brothers lose inquiry bid

Two members of a notorious Lebanese gang who gang-raped women in racist and violent attacks, have failed in their bid to have their convictions overturned.
Gang ringleader Bilal Skaf, now aged 31, and younger brother Mohammed Skaf, who were sentenced to maximum jail terms of 28 years and 24 years, applied to the Supreme Court for an "inquiry" into their convictions in the hope that they would be allowed to appeal to a three-judge appeal court.
The brothers argued they were wrongly convicted on unreliable evidence. They argued the evidence of the young woman who was a victim of their attack was "compromised" because she gave evidence of having had "dreams" and "flashbacks" of her traumatic ordeal weeks later.
They also argue her identification of them from a photo-board of suspects was "compromised".
The young woman met her attackers on a train, and agreed to accompany them to Bankstown railway station so they could smoke marijuana with them.
Mohammed Skaf also alleged the Crown made a mistake when it did not disclose a "palm print" taken from the scene of one of the rapes to his defence team until during the trial, held in 2002.
In dismissing the application, Supreme Court judge Robert Beech-Jones rejected the brotherís claims that their trial was based on flawed evidence.
Justice Beech-Jones said that the female victims evidence was "strongly corroborated by other independent evidence".
He said the failure to hand the palm print evidence taken from public toilets in Bankstown to the defence did not cause him to "have a sense of unease or disquiet concerning Mohammed Skaf's guilt".
A total of 14 males took part in the August 2000 gang rapes of four young girls on three occasions at various locations in south-west Sydney.
They include in a public toilet near a carpark on Marion Street in Blacktown, at a Chullora industrial estate and at a park in Greenacre. But only nine men were convicted.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au (18-3-2013)

MAKO/Files Online.. Listing Australian Convicted Paedophiles/ Sex Offenders/ Child Killers.. FREE Public Service..

Another Skaf rapist granted weekend leave

Another of the Skaf rapists has been granted weekend leave in a move to integrate him back into the Sydney community.
The young man has reached his non-parole period and has been granted day release, which is expected to start in coming weeks.
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the 29-year-old's weekend leave was recommended by the independent Serious Offenders Review Council and also the State Parole Authority.
"External leave is the normal progression for all inmates as they are prepared to re-integrate into the community and it is considered appropriate for this inmate because his non-parole period has expired, he is compliant and has participated in all programs," Mr Severin told AAP in a statement on Saturday.
"He will be electronically monitored with random spot visits by field officers and must submit to a strict schedule and the supervision of an approved sponsor."
It is understood the young man had his name suppressed at his trial, and Judge Michael Finane ordered it never to be lifted due to the man's intellectual and mental disabilities.
His co-accused Mohamed Sanoussi, 28, was denied parole in October last year but the State Parole Authority indicated it would grant parole in 2013.
His parole will be reconsidered later this year.
They were two of nine young males convicted of the August 2000 gang rapes of young girls at various locations in Sydney. A total of 14 males took part in the attacks.
Brothers Bilal Skaf and Mohammed Skaf were among the convicted rapists and led the attacks.

news.ninemsn.com.au (2-2-2013)

Gang rapist given chance to earn parole

They were described by a District Court judge as ''one of the greatest outrages perpetrated on the community in Sydney'' - a series of horrific gang rapes in the lead up to the 2000 Olympics.
Led by Bilal Skaf and his brothers, 14 men repeatedly terrorised a handful of young women, leaving them with physical and emotional scars that may never fade.
Twelve years on, some of the perpetrators of the crime have begun to come out of prison as their non-parole periods expire.
Yesterday, the State Parole Authority indicated it is likely to order the release of another one of the offenders, Mohamed Sanoussi, early next year - the third of the group to be released.
Sanoussi, 28, was initially sentenced to a maximum of 16 years in prison for his role in a series of sexual assaults in August 2000.
He was among those who raped a young woman up to 25 times at isolated locations across western Sydney in what was arguably the worst act of the gang rapists.
Sanoussi, who was 16 at the time of the attacks, had his sentenced reduced on appeal to a minimum of 10 years and became eligible for parole two years ago.
On October 4, after multiple applications for release, the Parole Authority indicated its intention to grant parole.
Meeting again yesterday, the authority declined to formally grant parole so that the 28-year-old could undertake weekend leave each fortnight over a number of months.
The head of the parole panel, Judge Terry Christie, said if this leave, which will begin next Saturday, was completed without incident, the authority would order his release in January or February next year.
''A fortnight ago, the authority indicated [to Mr Denman, representing the Commissioner] that if Mr Sanoussi was not granted weekend leave then we would release him today.
''We have been persuaded [by the Corrective Services Commissioner] that the prisoner do weekend leave,'' Judge Christie said.
''If that is undertaken, we would propose releasing him for parole on the second Friday of the new year.''
Sanoussi, appearing via audio visual link from prison, hung his head and cried as the judge made the order.
The hearing was told that Sanoussi has been suffering from mental health issues for which he is taking medication, and has an intellectual impairment.
''Every time my client comes before the authority the benchmark [for release] gets moved,'' Sanoussi's legal aid solicitor, Ruth Layton, told the hearing.
''[Overall] it's a horrible crime, but he's recognised that.''
Ms Layton said her client had completed every rehabilitation program available while he was in jail in a bid to address his issues.
Speaking after the hearing, the victims of crime advocate Howard Brown said that he thought the outcome was appropriate given that Sanoussi had made a genuine attempt at rehabilitation.
''He was a 16-year-old and by all accounts someone who was easily led,'' Mr Brown said.
''Bilal Skaf was very charismatic in his way.''

www.smh.com.au (19-10-2012)

Sydney gang rapist Mohamad Sanoussi gets weekend leave

A Sydney man in jail for participating in two gang rapes has been refused parole for a third time but will be allowed out on weekends.
Mohamad Sanoussi, 28, has served almost 12 years of a maximum 16-year sentence.
Brothers Bilal and Mohammed Skaf, as well as Sanoussi's brother Mahmoud and a fifth man, Mahmoud Chami, were also convicted for the August 2000 rapes in Sydney's southwest.
In refusing parole today, the State Parole Authority said it took into account a decision by Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin to extend Sanoussi's current day leave to one weekend a fortnight to "encourage his successful reintegration into the community".
His parole will be reconsidered early next year.
Sanoussi will be subject to electronic monitoring and must abstain from drugs and alcohol when his weekend leave begins later this month.
In his submission to the SPA, Mr Severin said the 28-year-old faced "considerable hurdles in successfully reintegrating into the community, including the fact he's spent his adult life in custody".
He also noted Sanoussi's intellectual disability, mental health issues and difficulty in putting into practice the lessons he had learnt during a custody-based intensive treatment program.
The probation and parole service said it also had concerns about his resettlement into the community, given the length of his incarceration.
"As such, monitoring will be an important part of this inmate's case management," it said.
Sanoussi was ordered to participate in community psychology services and to continue drug and alcohol counselling.

AAP (18-10-2012)

Rapist Skaf Brothers Had Mobiles For 'Many Years'

The two mobile phones the rapist Skaf brothers were found with had been in the prison system for possibly two years.
A source told The Daily Telegraph yesterday Bilal Skaf had been phoning family and a small number of friends for some years.
He had bragged to people he was able to get phones into the prison system by using the protection of legal privilege, without the knowledge of their solicitors.
Legal papers mailed to clients in jail cannot be opened by the prison authorities, but are all X-rayed. The Daily Telegraph has been told Skaf had tried to recruit people up to two years ago to copy the letterhead of his solicitor's firm and then mail a thick wad of legal-looking papers with a phone hidden in a cavity.
One prison guard said while it would be difficult to get a phone through an X-ray machine "it could be feasible".
Gallery and video: Come inside Sydney's Supermax prison
Commissioner Ron Woodham vehemently denied this and said Bilal had only received two bulky lots of mail in the past four years.
"There's no way in the world that would have happened," Mr Woodham said.
"The X-ray machines would pick up a mobile phone through two or three phone books. I'm inclined to think the phone has come from another jail on escort and someone hasn't checked the luggage well enough."
It was also revealed yesterday a third phone, found in another Goulburn cell, was functioning.

The Daily Telegraph (30-5-2009)
Rhett Watson

Skaf Brothers Separated After Phones Found in Jail Cell

The gang rapist Skaf brothers prised apart a steel cabinet to hide two mobile phones in their maximum security jail cell.
The details of the pair's underhanded concealment methods emerged last night as prison authorities remained baffled as to how two of the country's most notorious criminals smuggled phones into Goulburn prison.
One option being considered is that the phones were thrown over the prison walls, which Corrective Services senior officer Don Rodgers admitted could occur, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The phones' discovery last night led Commissioner Ron Woodham to vow that Bilal, 27, and Mohammed, 26, will never see each other again while they are behind bars.
"No. Never. They'll be in different jails and they'll never be together again," he said.
Both were strip-searched after the phones were found and moved into segregation where they will stay for two to three months until the investigation is complete.
Mohammed was moved to Lithgow jail and Bilal will remain in Goulburn jail's segregation section. One of the phones had a SIM card, making it live. There was no reason to believe it had not been used.
Prison investigators will use the SIM card from the Skafs' phone to work out how many calls were made, to whom and, possible, how long it has been in the jail.
There was speculation in Corrective Services that the calls would be more of a personal nature than criminal.
Prison officers only became aware of the smuggled contraband after a tip-off led to a raid on several cells on Tuesday morning.
The brothers, who shared a cell, had managed to drill out the rivets on a cabinet which has a tubular steel frame and sheet metal covering it.
They had popped one of the sheets off the bottom of the cabinet, hidden the phones on the frame and then placed the sheet metal skin back over it.
"After that we've ramped up the searches in the jail and pulled apart every piece of furniture in all the cells," Mr Woodham said.
"We had a special team brought down from Sydney to get involved and we had about 80 to 90 officers from different areas sent in to do the search."
While Prisons Minister John Robertson yesterday said the discovery of the phones showed the "system actually works", the State Government was criticised that two notorious criminals, guilty of the worst pack rapes in NSW, were able to get phones in jail.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said that the Government had a lot of explaining to do.
"What we know is they've been found in one of the most secure prisons in this state and they are owned, apparently, by two of the state's most notorious rapists," he said.
"When courts send serial rapists like the Skaf brothers to jail ... there is meant to be punishment. The public does not expect them to have access to mobile phones." The Government hopes to reduce the problems with mobile phone smuggling by creating jamming systems at its jails. Mr Robertson said he hoped to receive approval from the Federal Government to trial a system at Lithgow jail. He also said the system that allows siblings to stay in the same cells was also being reviewed. Southwest region corrective services assistant commissioner John Dunthorne said the Skafs were together because: "It's very hard to place any Skaf in any jail and certainly not with any other inmate. Nobody wants a bar of them."

The Daily Telegraph (29-5-2009)
Rhett Watson/ Kara Lawrence

Evil Rapist Back on the Street
Mahmoud Sanoussi

The first of the notorious Skaf gang rapists is to be recommended for release from jail next month after receiving a discounted sentence.
Mahmoud Sanoussi was one of 14 men who gang-raped a teenage girl 25 times in western Sydney.
He was jailed for 11 years but is eligible for parole after receiving a discounted sentence because he pleaded guilty and showed remorse.
Sanoussi, 23, appeared via video link at a State Parole Authority hearing on Friday where submissions were made to release him back into the community. The decision was adjourned to next month.
"We've asked for further documents, further material,'' a spokesman said.
The authority will take into account his rehabilitation and his behaviour in prison.
But Sanoussi's possible release has sparked grave concerns from Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham, who has stepped in to try to keep one of the country's worst gang rapists behind bars.
Mr Woodham believes Sanoussi is a risk to society, and is preparing a formal submission to be presented to the NSW State Parole Authority.
Victims groups share his concerns, saying yesterday that Sanoussi's release is too soon.
Sanoussi, aged 15 at the time of the attack, and his brother, Mohammed, were part of the "brutal gang of rapists'' who terrorised a young woman in Sydney in August 2000.
The gang took their victim, Miss C, to a toilet block where Mohammed Skaf asked her if she liked it "Leb style'' before raping her. He left the cubicle and Sanoussi (Mahmoud) came in and raped her.
For the next six hours, Miss C was subjected to multiple rapes and death threats at three isolated locations.
Ringleader Bilal Skaf was sentenced to a record 55 years jail. His sentence was halved on appeal.
Sanoussi was jailed for a maximum 11 years with a six-and-a-half year non-parole period.
NSW Rape Crisis Centre manager Karen Willis said she was concerned about his release.
The victims of the gang rapes would also be in fear.
"It was a vicious, appalling crime,'' Ms Willis said.
"If we are going to release serious sex offenders back into the community, we need to be absolutely sure that they are completely rehabilitated and no one is going to suffer in such a way as their victims did.
"Unless they're absolutely sure, then they can't release him.''
Miss C, who moved overseas, is still recovering from her ordeal.
If granted parole, Mr Woodham has the power to apply to the Supreme Court to keep Sanoussi in jail, following changes to the NSW Serious Sex Offenders Act to allow for continued detention of an offender past their release date "for the safety and protection of the community''.
During the sentence of the Skaf gang rapists, the judge described their crimes as worse than murder.
"These cases concern one of the greatest outrages, in criminal terms, that has been perpetrated on the community in Sydney ... military organised gang rape involving 14 young men,'' Judge Michael Finnane said in 2002.
Sanoussi served part of his sentence in juvenile justice before moving to an adult prison.

The Sunday Telegraph (15-6-2008)
Ellen Connolly

Gang rapists re-sentenced

The notorious gang rapists the Skaf brothers were today re-sentenced for a brutal attack on a 16-year-old girl in 2000 after their conviction was originally quashed due to an experiment by wayward jurors.
Bilal Skaf made legal history when he was originally sentenced to 55 years for several gang rapes in western Sydney, but this was later reduced on appeal.
Today, Bilal and Mohammed Skaf were sentenced to at least another 10 years and seven and a half years respectively for the August 12 attack on the school girl in Gosling Park in Greenacre.
Bilal Skaf raped the girl while a group of up to 14 men stood around laughing and speaking in Arabic while they held her down.
"This one's a feisty one," he said at the time.
Afterwards, another man also raped her.
"It's my turn now," he said.
The same man then held a gun to her head and kicked her in the stomach before she escaped and ran off.
A passerby helped her to his home.
After a retrial earlier this year, Bilal Skaf was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual assault without consent in company and his brother was found guilty of being an accessory before the fact.
In 2004, the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed their convictions after it was revealed that two jurors had gone to the scene of the crime during the original trial and conducted their own experiment.
There was public outrage after the victim said she was unable to again testify and the government introduced legislation to allow her previous evidence to be used in her absence.
It also made such conduct by jurors an offence.
The 55-year sentence for Bilal Skaf was reduced on appeal to 28 years.
With today's sentence he will now serve a minimum of 32 years non-parole and a maximum of 38.
His brother, 23, was originally sentenced to 32 years maximum, reduced to 19 on appeal, and will now serve a minimum of 18 and a half with a maximum of 26.
The victim's mother spoke to journalists outside the court, expressing her relief that the matter was finally over but wary that they are likely to appeal the latest sentence.
She said her daughter has still not been able to speak to her at all about the rapes.
"I've spoken to my daughter today. She's very very happy. She cried, she laughed," she said.
"She's not here today so obviously it has affected her to the point where she can't have anything to do with this anymore," she said.
Acting Justice Jane Mathews described the attack as "humiliating" and "degrading" but not in the worst category.
She said Bilal Skaf was the ringleader and his sentence must reflect community outrage for the "cruel, callous and degrading" way he treated the girl.
She said Mohammed Skaf, whom the girl knew, had betrayed her trust by inviting her for a drive to the city knowing full well that she would be gang raped.
In a bizarre statement, the men's former prison mate, Zeky "Zak" Mullah, who was acquitted of terror offences, said outside court the pair should be "honoured and respected for the crimes".
"We want to kill them, we want to torture them, we want to hit them for a six and sentence them to 55 years or more," Mullah said.
"Well my conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, as Bilal Skaf and Mohammed Skaf's friend ... that if the American soldiers are honoured and respected for the raping and killing of innocent Iraqi girls simply because they're soldiers, then Bilal Skaf and Mohammed Skaf should be more honoured and respected for the crimes they did.
"Because after all if they did commit these offences at least those two have not killed any of the victims as the American soldiers have."

www.smh.com.au (28-7-2006)
Natasha Wallace

Gang Rapist Could Be 'Killed In Prison'

Convicted gang rapist Bilal Skaf has no friends in jail and is at risk of being killed by other prisoners, a Sydney court has been told.
Skaf and an associate, who can be referred to only as AA, were convicted in the NSW Supreme Court in April over the August 2000 pack rape of a 16-year-old girl in Greenacre's Gosling Park, in Sydney's west.
During the pair's sentencing submissions today, Skaf's lawyer, Peter Zahra SC asked acting Justice Jane Mathews to take into account that his client, already serving a 28-year sentence for other offences, was approaching nearly six years in custody.
He said Skaf, who has been convicted twice of the Gosling Park attack, had "no friends" in prison and faced "onerous" and "very dangerous" conditions.
"There are prisoners that want to kill him - and they are not from any particular ethnic group," Mr Zahra said.
AA's lawyer Matthew Johnston said his 22-year-old client should have the opportunity to participate in educational programs inside jail, which would "certainly go to his prospects of rehabilitation".
Acting Justice Mathews said she would sentence the pair within the next two weeks, but did not fix a date.
Skaf, now 24, was convicted in 2002 on two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent in company, while AA was found guilty of being an accessary before the fact.
They were among up to 14 men allegedly involved in the attack. Skaf made NSW legal history when he was sentenced to a record 55 years in jail for leading a string of vicious gang rapes - including the Gosling Park attack - in 2000. But the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in 2004 quashed Skaf and AA's convictions over the Gosling Park attack and ordered a retrial after it was revealed that, during the trial, two jurors conducted their own investigations at the scene of the rape. Skaf remained behind bars while awaiting retrial, with his sentence for other sex offences having been reduced to a maximum 28 years on appeal. AA's overturned conviction and a subsequent appeal resulted in his jail term for the same series of attacks being reduced from 32 to 19 years.

AAP (21-7-2006)
Amy Fallon

Gang rapist sentence reduced by 18 years

Convicted rapist Bilal Skaf has had his jail term for a string of gang rapes in Sydney reduced from 46 to 28 years.
Skaf, now 24, was convicted of a series of gang rapes in 2000 in Sydney's west.
He was originally sentenced to a maximum of 55 years jail but that sentence was later reduced by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to 46 years after the prison term for the gang rape of one victim, Ms D, was scrapped.
Skaf is facing a retrial on gang rape charges relating to Ms D.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has reduced Skaf's sentence further to a maximum of 28 years and a minimum of 22 years.
He had appealed the sentences for the gang rapes of Ms C, then 18, at Bankstown on August 30, 2000, and Ms A and Ms B, aged 17 and 18, at Greenacre on August 10, 2000.
The appeals were lodged on a number of grounds including that the rapes were not in the worst category of such offences and the prison terms were manifestly excessive.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal agreed and reduced the sentences for both gang rapes.
"Without minimising the gravity of the offences committed on 10 August, 2000, they cannot individually or collectively be regarded as in the worst case category of aggravated sexual assault ... ," Justices Timothy Studdert, Virginia Bell and Megan Latham said in their judgment.
Skaf's brother Mohammed Skaf also had his sentence reduced.
Mohammed Skaf was originally jailed for 32 years for his role in the gang rapes but also had his sentence later reduced to 24 years when his prison term for the rape of Ms D was removed.
He also will face a retrial on gang rape charges relating to Ms D.
The Court of Criminal Appeal further reduced Mohammed Skaf's sentence to 19 years with a non-parole period of 11 years.
Mohammed Skaf, now 22, had appealed his sentence on the gang rape of Ms C on a number of grounds including that the sentence was manifestly excessive.
The Court of Appeal agreed that sentences on some offences were manifestly excessive but not on all counts. The judges also found the court had miscalculated the earlier reduction.
Three other gang rapists, Belal Hajeid, Mohammed Sanoussi, and a man known only as H, also had their sentences reduced.
Sanoussi's brother Mahmoud Sanoussi and another man, Mahmoud Chami, both lost their appeals on their sentences.
Bilal Skaf will now be eligible for release on February 11, 2023.

news.ninemsn.com.au (16-9-2005)

Gang rapist: I may kill myself

The Sydney rapist next in line to be sentenced and publicly named will commit suicide if he is committed to spending most of his life behind bars.
"I will kill myself," the teenager told The Sun-Herald on the telephone from the juvenile detention centre where he has been held since his arrest 18 months ago.
"I'll go crazy, you don't understand," he said in a flat, slightly nasal tone, almost devoid of emotion. "I am 19, if I got 30 or 35 years on the top, I would be almost 60 when I got out. What's the use of that? What kind of life is that?"
In an exclusive interview, the convicted teenager known as X1 said he would rather cut short his life than end up a madman in jail.
In a voice perhaps deadened by the tranquillisers he admitted he was taking to cope with his confinement, X1 confirmed he had seriously considered suicide, to the extent that he decided his own family would be better off if he died.
Asked how his mother would greet the news, he said: "I think she knows. Maybe it would be best for them ... instead of just dragging it on and making it worse, I'd be putting them out of their misery."
X1's interview on Thursday was the first time any of the convicted Lebanese gang rapists had spoken publicly. He spoke on the eve of what was due to be his sentencing day, but he was spared the humiliation of being identified by Judge Michael Finnane, because there was no time left to deal with his case.
In the NSW District Court on Friday, Judge Finnane sentenced and named three other members of the Sydney rape gang that terrorised girls in south-west Sydney in the weeks leading up to the 2000 Olympics. The gang ringleader was also named on Friday as Bilal Skaf, who received 55 years' jail last month.
X1's best friend, Tayyab Sheikh, also spoke to The Sun-Herald hours before Judge Finnane passed sentence on him.
"I'm expecting 20 years and I don't know how I'm going to cope with that," Sheikh said. "Because I am a young man of Middle Eastern appearance, this is what I can expect. What about all those priests who molest children? They're still out there."
A short time later, Sheikh received a 15-year maximum sentence, with a non-parole period of nine years.
X1's fate will be sealed when he reappears next month.
He said he feared as much for his family's safety as he did for his pending sentence.
His fears are not without reason. When another of the convicted rapists, Belal Hajeid, was named in July, his family were hounded out of their home by "friends, neighbours and strangers".
They eventually had to flee to a secret location, where they remain in hiding.
"It scares me," X1 said. "The thought of what might happen to my family if my name gets out. They have to be protected. You have to tell everyone my family has done nothing. They are very good people and don't deserve anything bad happening to them."
X1's mother arranged the interview with her son and, during the conversation, she picked up a second phone for a short period to hear her son's voice - and heard a stream of swear words.
"Stop using that 'f' word," she admonished. "Stop swearing!"
"Mum," he replied. "I'm swearing because I'm stressing out."
X1's mother said: "I didn't teach him to be that way." She said she
had encouraged him to integrate and become part of the Australian culture.

The Sun-Herald (8-9-2002)
Eamonn Duff and Candace Sutton

Judge names rape gang

Three men sentenced over a series of gang rapes were today named by a NSW court.
District Court Judge Michael Finnane lifted a suppression order allowing two brothers and two other men to be named.
The leader of a gang of rapists sentenced to 55 years' jail was today named as Bilal Skaff. he was sentenced last month.
Mahmoud Sanoussi, 17, and Mohammed Sanoussi, 18, were sentenced today to 11 and 21 years respectively.
Judge Finnane also this afternoon sentenced a third man, Tayyab Sheikh, 18, to 15 years' jail with a minimum nine years over the rape of a young girl who was attacked by 14 men.
The judge ordered Sheikh be held in a juvenile justice facility until his 21st birthday.
Sheikh was sentenced to 15 years' jail for aggravated sexual intercourse and five years for the detention of the victim, codenamed Miss C.
The sentences are to be served concurrently.
The judge also reduced the non-parole period from 11 years and three months to nine years because of Sheikh's age.
Sheikh kept his head lowered when the sentence was delivered.
Judge Finnane said he decided to lift restrictions on naming Skaff, Sheikh and the Sanoussi brothers because the gang rape was "one of the greatest outrages perpetrated on the community in Sydney" and one organised "militarily".
He said the trial had been conducted publicly and there was great merit in there being public denunciation of serious offences.

www.smh.com.au (6-9-2002)

Gang rapist cowers as he gets 18 years' jail

He didn't show his face. For 40 minutes, as Judge Michael Finnane sentenced Mahmoud Chami to 18 years, the rapist cowered beneath the dock, only the top of his head sometimes visible.
At the back of the court sat the victim, her head high, jaw set, flanked by her brother and a prison chaplain, whose hands she squeezed.
"I'm going to hold myself together today," she had said earlier. Only afterwards did she let down her guard, hugging family and breathing a sigh of relief: "Safe for 10 years."
Chami, 20, was convicted of one count of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent and one of detaining for sexual advantage in the August 30, 2000, gang rape of the woman, "Ms C". The judge ordered a minimum non-parole period of 10.6 years.
In June he sent Belal Hajeid, the first of the gang rapists responsible for a six-week series of sex attacks, to prison for a maximum 23 years, with a non-parole period of 15. Hajeid had been convicted of 10 offences in the gang's attack on two other female teenagers three weeks earlier.
The judge described Ms C's ordeal as "a series of orgiastic attacks" where she was passed from one group to the next in "an organised criminal conspiracy".
Going home from a job interview, she left a train at Bankstown with five youths. Over six hours she was raped by 14 teenagers at three sites in Bankstown and Chullora.
"This case has so many appalling features it will go down in the annals of this state as being one of the worst gang rapes ever recorded," the judge said. "What occurred ... was a series of gang rapes, carried out by participants known to one another and all carefully co-ordinated by the use of mobile phones."
Chami, who at first denied involvement, later told police he joined the gang after "I copped a phone call from [X]. He told me there's a slut a Bankstown Trotting Club."
As the victim tried to escape at one point, Chami held a gun to her head, saying: "Don't move, bitch, or you're dead."
At a Chullora industrial site, after Ms C had been raped eight times by seven men, Chami got into the back of a car where she was being held. Crying, she said, "you're not going to do it to me too?". He replied "F--- me!"
"It is difficult to think of a more serious rape offence than this one," the judge said, calling it "degrading, violent and disgusting".
Chami's lawyer, April Francis, urged the judge to find his rape less serious than those of other gang members.
Judge Finnane reduced the non-parole period for Chami, who had no previous criminal record, because of his age, previous good character, prospects for rehabilitation and because he would serve his term in protective isolation.
In a letter to the judge, Chami's family and fiancee described their anguish: his parents divorced, the family quarrelled over who was to blame and had become the target of public anger for all the rapes, yet Chami was one of only two men so far named.
They also wrote of sorrow for the victim. "As much as we are suffering we cannot even imagine how much she is suffering."
"As time passes, every day we look in the mirror and ask ourselves what happen that day. Why did Mahmoud have such friends that emphasised such unlawful acts? But we do know that we are very sorry."
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, said yesterday that NSW should consider trying 17-year-olds as adults.

www.smh.com.au (10-8-2002)
Sarah Crichton

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