Spanish court accepts appeal of Dutch man's rape conviction
Spain's Supreme Court said Wednesday it has accepted a Dutch man's appeal of his decade-old attempted rape conviction, after new DNA evidence emerged that indicates a British man may have been behind the assaults.
Police arrested Romano Liberto van der Dussen in September 2003 in the resort town of Fuengirola on Spain's Costa del Sol, accusing him of beating and trying to rape three women.
A court in Malaga in 2005 sentenced him to 15-and-a-half years in jail for sexual assault, attempted rape, causing injuries and violent robbery after two of the victims and a witness watching from a window all identified him as the culprit.
Van der Dussen, who was 30 years old and living in Spain when he was arrested, has always maintained his innocence and his DNA was never matched to that found at the scene.
A courthouse in Fuengirola in February received a British police report that showed the DNA found at the scene of the attacks matches a genetic sample taken from a British man, Mark Dixie, who was living in southern Spain at the time.
Dixie is currently serving a 34-year jail sentence in Britain for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old model in London in 2005.
Spain's Supreme Court said the appeal included the DNA evidence "and as a consequence, it meets the criteria to be accepted".
The ruling was dated November 12, but was only made public on Wednesday.
Van der Dussen's case made headlines in Spain as well as the Netherlands, where a foundation which supports Dutch prisoners abroad, PrisonLaw, has raised thousands of euros to pay for his legal aid.
"I have been in jail for over 11 years for crimes I did not commit. I have been through an indescribable hell," he said in an interview published in May in top-selling Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.
"During this time I have seen people get stabbed, others commit suicide, others get raped over unpaid debts...All of this has caused me irreparable damage," he added.
© 2015 AFP