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Three sentenced for gang rape of American student in Rio

The brutal rape aboard a public transit van brought attention to the growing numbers of reported sex crimes in Brazil.

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(L-R) Wallace Aparecido Silva, Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos and Jonathan Froudakis de Souza, who allegedly raped a foreign tourist in a minibus in Rio de Janeiro on March 30, 2013 are presented to the press in Rio on April 2, 2013. The were sentenced for the rape of an American student who was assaulted as her French boyfriend was forced to look on during a horrific six-hour abduction aboard a Rio minibus, local media reported. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Three young men have been sentenced for brutally gang raping an American student aboard a public transit van in the popular beach district of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.

The case made headlines around the world and brought attention to the rising number of reported rapes in Brazil.

A judge on Wednesday sentenced two of the men —20-year-old Jonathan Foudakis de Souza and 21-year-old Wallace Aparecido de Souza Silva — each to 49 years in prison on rape, robbery and extortion charges.

A third assailant, Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos, 21, was found guilty of rape and extortion and sentenced to 21 years.

A 14-year-old who also allegedly took part in the assault will be tried separately in a juvenile court.

During the sentencing, Judge Guilherme Schilling Pollo Duarte said the gang had been active in the area for months, targeting mainly foreign tourists.

The woman was "humiliated, suffering brutally at the hands of her kidnappers, in an act that caused repulsion and indignation", said Judge Pollo Duarte.

The attack started just after midnight on March 30 when the American student and her French boyfriend boarded a public transit van headed for the popular nightlife district of Lapa.

The gang forced all the other passengers off the van then they tied up and beat the French man with a tire iron, reports the Associated Press.

The three assailants then took turns raping the American woman in front of her boyfriend while driving around Rio.

The victims were also forced to withdraw cash for the attackers and use their credit cards to buy goods.

After the six-hour assault, the gang dropped them off in a gritty area of Rio.

"It is difficult to believe that all such acts were perpetrated by human beings," said Judge Pollo Duarte.

The incident sparked international outrage, particularly after a number of women came forward to say they had been raped by the same men.

A 22-year-old Brazilian woman told the New York Times she had been a victim of the gang a week earlier.

She reported the crime immediately but there was no investigation or arrest, she said.

"The authorities still seem to be more concerned in dealing with the rape case of a foreigner instead of my own,” the Brazilian victim said in a telephone interview with the New York Times on Thursday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/130816/three-sentenced-gang-rape-american-student-rio