International uproar after acquittal in rape case

From The Elysian Republican

Ilium Novum. The district court in the Satelliteland city of New Alpbach has acquitted a twenty-four-year-old human male of a charge of having raped a twenty-year-old female humanoid synthetic organism. Quite remarkable the judges did not acquit the suspect because they believed he was innocent of the facts as described in the charge. On the contrary the court actually considered it to be proven that the human male had sexually penetrated the female HSO by force. The judges found the action of the defendant, however, not to be illegitimate.

For a full understanding of this bizarre verdict, it is important to note that the female HSO in this case, is unlike many of her congeners in Satelliteland not a slave but a free person. Approximately a quarter of all HSOs in Satelliteland are actually free persons, which constitutes about fifteen percent of the total population.

But under the law of Satelliteland free HSOs have only very limited rights. Professor in Comparative Law at the University of Ilium Novum Ramesh Iterber, even states: “Human foreign citizens enjoys greater legal protection than domestic free HSOs in Satelliteland. It would be an euphemism to call these group even second class citizens.”

The district court in New Alpbach confirmed this by arguing that “even if a humanoid synthetic organism has been manumitted or born free, does not absolve the subservient role expected from a humanoid synthetic organism in his or her interactions with humans.”

A summary of the facts is as follows. Both the perpetrator, known as A., and the victim, with the name Joelle, live in the same apartment building. At one day Joelle is facing trouble with her bicycle, which was witnessed by A. who spontaneously offered help. A few minutes later the problem was fixed, and Joelle gave A. as reward a kiss on his cheek.

A. however saw then an opportunity for some casual sex, and he overpowered his neighbour. Joelle sought to resist him, but with no success. Only after a few minutes A. let her go, and Joelle immediately went to the police station to report the crime.

Unfortunately for Joelle the department for public prosecution decided not to put charges against A., because they believed that she had “seduced” her neighbour by kissing him in the first place. The angered female HSO then contacted well-known lawyer and abolitionist Julia Annemarie.

Julia Annemarie subsequently filed a request for mandatory prosecution at the New Alpbach grand jury. Very reluctantly the grand jury granted this request and ordered the public prosecutors to bring this case to court. Though the district attorney complied with this by putting a rape charge against A., the DA advised the court to declare the defendant not guilty by reason of reduced culpability as the result of emotional distress.

The New Alpbach district court, however, rejected both the rape charge as well the district attorney’s advice. Instead the judges ruled that no crime had been committed in the first place, since Joelle as an HSO owed obedience towards A. as a result of his help with her bicycle.

In an initial reaction, Julia Annemarie states: “This ruling makes absolutely no sense. The court has made use of a far-sought interpretation of the law. Satelliteland law does mandates free HSOs to assist humans in certain circumstances, but till now this has been generally understood as an obligation of HSOs to help humans in need, such as in case of serious injury or to prevent a crime against a human.

“However, this is the first time a court has interpret this legal principle in such a way, that it condones crimes against HSOs, if committed by humans.”

Joelle’s lawyer has already announced to bring this verdict to the Satelliteland Court of Cassation, the country’s supreme court. “My client and I want to know whether this interpretation is acceptable, even in this backwards country.”

This district court’s ruling has also met universal indignation throughout the Solar System. The Elysian federal government was the first to publicly announce its condemnation of this verdict. The Elysian minister for international relations has made an appeal to the Satelliteland authorities to amend the law to give humans and HSOs equal rights and equal legal protection.

Numerous other governments have made similar statements, and the Eurasian government has announced a boycott against Satelliteland products, with immediately effect. Additionally both the Confederation of Socialist Republics and the Fempower Republic have declared the Satelliteland ambassadors to their respective countries persona non grata.

Satelliteland president Iris Athasuuri does not seem to be impressed, however, by the international uproar caused by this bizarre acquittal. A spokesperson of Ms. Athasuuri has declared that the government of the Republic of Satelliteland will not tolerate foreign interference in its domestic affairs.

According to Julia Annemarie this reaction of the government of Satelliteland government is quite typical for the Iris administration. The lawyer makes a parallel with the successful escape of Tamara, a female HSO slave, to Elysia a few years ago.

“Also in that case, international opinion was in favour of the HSO and against Iris and her government. And the subsequent refusal of the Elysians to either extradite Tamara or to pay financial compensation to her owners, has had a deep impact on the Satelliteland elite.

“That elite has become even more pro-slavery than it just to be, and free HSOs are seen increasingly as an undesirable element in society. Some radical nationalists have even introduced a bill in the House of Representatives, which would prohibit manumission of slaves. After an intensive lobbying by the Association of Slave Owners, who disliked this infringement on their property rights, this bill was finally defeated.

“This change in attitude towards free HSOs might also explain this verdict. It essentially blurs the whole distinction between slavery and freedom, as it subjects free HSOs to random violence committed by humans. Ironically, if this ruling is upheld by the Court of Cassation, enslaved HSOs will actually enjoy more rights than their free congeners. Since slaves are protected against violence against their person as a result of the property rights of their owners.”

But despite the increased pro-slavery attitude of the Satelliteland authorities, opinion polls show an ever-growing support for gradual abolition of HSO slavery among the general population. According to Edward Victor, political scientist at the Felixburg University, this is a real problem for the current administration.

“Only five percent of the human population of this country, owns thirty-five percent of all HSO slaves. A large number of the electorate does not own slaves at all, and that number is still growing. For those part of the population slavery has no salience whatsoever, and these people are nearly all members of the middle-class. And for them the economy is a much more urgent issue.

“And right now, the Satelliteland economy is performing badly. And partially this is due to HSO slavery, since more and more countries refuse to import goods produced with slave labour. Consequently Iris is losing support even among Nationalist voters.

“That goes so far, that several Nationalist politicians will be candidates in the upcoming elections for the House, with an abolitionist platform. Until now only Unionist politicians campaigned with an abolitionist platform.

“And there are even rumors that moderate Nationalists and moderate Unionists are talking about cooperation in the House of Representatives. If these talks will succeed, they could bring down the cabinet, and possibly also evoke the resignation of Iris as president.”

Joelle’s lawyer Julia Annemarie is more skeptical. “Iris is even a greater authoritarian than her mother Catharina, and she will not hesitate to invoke martial law to continue her rule. It will probably take a revolution to remove the Athasuuris and their supporters from power.”

Would this rape case undermine Iris’s domestic support even further. “No, I don’t think so. It definitely undermines the government’s international reputation, but that will only have an indirect effect on domestic support, mainly as result of international sanctions.

“But nevertheless is this case important, because it is about the recognition of HSOs, or at least free HSOs, as persons with legal rights. My client, a remarkably strong woman, is not interested in getting her rapist punished, but she desires to be recognized as a rape victim.

“Joelle does not seek revenge, she wants to have a conversation with A., to make him understand what he has done to her and that he makes his apologies to her in person. Joelle also told me that she did not feel hatred or even anger towards him.”

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