LIMA (Reuters) – Police in Peru have arrested five men in connection with the gang rape a mentally ill young woman last week and are searching for two other suspects in a case that has shocked the South American country.
Prosecutors are examining the contents of three cell phones seized from the suspects, ages 20 to 27, who allegedly recorded the rape of their 19-year-old victim and shared it on social media, the attorney general’s office said on Twitter.
Local media said the rape took place on March 20 and that the victim suffers from schizophrenia.
Police believe the suspects were trying to blackmail the victim’s cousin, state news agency Andina reported.
The case, which has received widespread media coverage in Peru, has triggered an outcry and fuelled calls in Peru for an end to violence against women and girls that often goes unpunished.
So far this year, at least 39 women have been murdered in the country of 32 million people, according to local TV channel America TV, which has started to keep a running tab.
Ana Jara, a former prime minister and minister for women and vulnerable groups, said the victim had been previously abused.
“As a girl she was raped by two people and now she’s the mother of a six-month-old child,” Jara said on Twitter, calling for tough prison sentences for the men. “It was premeditated, recorded and spread on social media.”
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler)