A young Muslim refugee who had just obtained protected status in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat has been arrested on suspicion of raping a grandmother on a beach.
Saleban Nuur Shaieb, who is reportedly homeless, is alleged to have attacked the 68-year-old victim while she was sunbathing on a beach in Abruzzo, in the east of Italy.
Local news website Repubblica reports that the refugee pushed the grandmother to the ground so hard that she hit her head against the stones on the beach, leaving her dazed, before he violently raped her in broad daylight.
Before going down to the beach Shaieb, 20, reportedly stripped naked in a nearby street and started publicly masturbating, leading some local shopkeepers to call the police.
MailOnline reports: The victim was able to break free and ran into the sea just as law enforcement arrived. She was taken to hospital with a head injury and skin abrasions while Shaieb was arrested.
‘I thought he wanted to kill me,‘ she reportedly told the doctors treating her.
Repubblica reported that Shaieb received it his protection status order from Italian authorities a month ago, almost one year after he arrived in Sicily, one of the European gateways for those who travel across the Mediterranean from Africa.
The Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing populist party Lega and advocates for tighter border controls, responded furiously to the incident on Twitter.
‘A 20-year-old Somali, who arrived in Italy on a barge, strips naked and then attacks a 68-year-old woman, wounding her and sexually assaulting her. This is gratitude for obtaining protection from Italy! WORM!’ he wrote.
Salvini, a Eurosceptic often compared to Donald Trump, has criticized EU policy on refugees and asylum seekers for turning Italy into what he has called ‘Europe’s refugee camp’.