Belfast Telegraph

Refugee’s rape claims ‘untrue’

Asylum seeker wasted police time with sex assaults story, court told

A woman has claimed to have been imprisoned and raped daily for four months at an unknown location in Belfast, the High Court heard today.

Souyidatou Kante (25) alleged that up to five different men carried out sex assaults on her after she arrived in Northern Ireland to avoid a forced marriage in her native Guinea.

But she has now been charged with perverting the course of justice and wasting police time after medical examinations allegedly failed to back up her account. The accused, who is five months pregnant and with an address at a south Belfast shelter, was granted bail but ordered to be electronically tagged.

Kante arrived at the Multi-Cultural Resource Centre in Belfast on November 22 seeking asylum.

A Crown lawyer said she claimed to have been held captive at an address in the city during the previous four months. Conor Maguire outlined how Kante alleged that four or five different men had repeatedly raped her.

She claimed that her family were forcing her to marry an older man, even though she had secretly wed another man who had since disappeared.

Kante stated that she travelled to Northern Ireland with a man who offered to help after first spending three days in Sierra Leone.

The court heard allegations that one rapist kept her locked in a room and subjected her to sex attacks at knifepoint for seven days.

Kante claimed she escaped from the unidentified house and went to the Resource Centre where the authorities were alerted.

Despite the accused being un-cooperative, medical examinations found no evidence of recent trauma, according to Mr Maguire.

Opposing bail due to the risk of absconding, he added that the findings were inconsistent with Kante's version of events. A defence lawyer told the court the accused claimed to have been trafficked after fleeing her own country due to a proposed forced marriage. Kante was said to have used a people smuggler to get out of Guinea.

Her barrister said: “Unfortunately the use of this smuggler has led the applicant into the situation where she finds herself as effectively being forced into prostitution.

“The applicant has given an account of the sorts of acts she was subjected to. One can only imagine that having such acts imposed on one would lead to a certain amount of trauma and distress.”

Bail was granted on the basis of Kante being tagged and curfewed.

The judge, Lord Justice Girvan, pointed out that her asylum request must be processed separately through the normal immigration tribunal system.

He added: “She may have no claim for asylum and it may be that her claim of trafficking will be shown to be false.”

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