An Australian man has been jailed for up to three years for punching and stomping on a pregnant Muslim woman at a cafe in Sydney last year. The footage of the incident, caught on CCTV camera, was shown in court on Thursday.
Rana Elasmar, a 32-year-old mother of four, was 38 weeks pregnant when a man named Stipe “Steven” Lozina walked up to her, punched her several times and then stomped on her head at Bay Vista cafe in Sydney on November, 2019.
According to Elasmar, Lozina first asked for money before attacking her and uttering a “racist” remark. Several of her friends and other patrons at the cafe immediately stepped in and restrained him. She suffered minor injuries, while her then-unborn child escaped unharmed, CNN reported.
At Thursday’s hearing, Lozina appeared in court via video link but was later removed after he repeated a racist statement over and over again. At a previous hearing, he had interrupted a prosecutor named Sara Gun to ask her about her racial background.
Lozina pleaded guilty to assault, but maintained that he had not attacked Elasmar because of her faith and attacked because she had refused to give him money. “I don’t hate them, but I don’t get along with them. I’ve got no business with them,” he said in court, addressing allegations of Islamophobia.
The judge, Christopher Craigie, stated that Lozina hit Elasmar about 14 times in a “very dynamic and swift outburst of violence” while she “cowered in terror”. “The victim was justifiably terrified,” Craigie said, according to a report by AP.
Lozina was ultimately sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years. According to her sister, Elasmar is still experiencing the physical and psychological effects of the attack, CNN reported.
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