Immigration · News · Rapist · refugee

FIGHT FOR JUSTICE Mount Duneed woman’s quest to keep the man who raped her in jail.

refugee rapist
A GEELONG woman fears the refugee who raped her in New Zealand 15 years ago is about to get out of jail, so she is planning to cross the Tasman to convince parole officers to keep the monster locked up.

Megs McLean was 20 when she was attacked by Akeel Hassan Abbas Al baiiaty in a student hostel in Wellington in 2004.

Al baiiaty was on parole after being convicted of earlier rapes.

Ms McLean feared she would die during the horrific ordeal.

“I remember picturing my parents at my funeral crying,” she said of that fateful day.

A GEELONG woman fears the refugee who raped her in New Zealand 15 years ago is about to get out of jail, so she is planning to cross the Tasman to convince parole officers to keep the monster locked up.

Megs McLean was a 20-year-old Australian student when attacked by Akeel Hassan Abbas Al baiiaty in the student hostel where they both lived in Wellington in 2004.

It later emerged Al baiiaty, an Iraqi refugee, was on parole after being convicted of earlier rapes, and Kiwi authorities had not applied to revoke his citizenship.

He had spent nine years in jail for the original rapes, and had only been out two months when he attacked Ms McLean.

He was arrested the day after the attack, was found guilty of rape, abduction and assault, and has been in jail since, while his traumatised victim moved to Geelong to rebuild her life.

Still carrying the physical and mental scars of the attack, Ms McLean, now 35, lives in Mount Duneed with her partner and their three children.

She kept details of her ordeal private before speaking on a podcast about it earlier this month, and agreeing for the Geelong Advertiser to publish her story.

She said the man cut her, tied her up, tried to suffocate her with a pillow, raped her repeatedly and smashed her face into a speaker.

“Being cut and raped and suffocated, that’s bad. But the fear of going, ‘this is it, this is the end of my life’, is far worse than all of that put together,” she said.

“I remember picturing my parents at my funeral crying.”

For years Ms McLean dismissed questions about her scars, and learned to disassociate herself from the incident.

“I still see her (the victim) as another girl. I don’t see it as me,” she said.

“This is why I can talk about it . . . it’s somebody else, even though I see the scars, and if I look in the mirror I relate it to me. So I don’t look in the mirror.”

She says speaking publicly about the incident was “superempowering”.

However, she was worried to learn her attacker was being considered for parole, and remains angry at the New Zealand Government for the series of blunders that led to her attacker living at her hostel undetected.

Al baiiaty has been declined parole many times since he first became eligible seven years ago, but Ms McLean is concerned he will be successful this time.

Parole authorities in New Zealand have previously noted the man has family in Australia, and it has been decided he will be sent back to Iraq when released.

“I know he’ll be deported, and in my mind I know he won’t be able to come to Australia, but it’s not some- thing I’m comfortable about,” she said.

“They (the New Zealand parole authorities) are saying he’s a low security risk and that he’s rehabilitated, meanwhile I’m still trying to cope with what he did to me.”

The New Zealand Government invited her to make a submission to the parole authorities before a decision was made, and had kept her informed about the offender’s progress in custody, including the courses he had completed.

Ms McLean said this added to her frustration at the lack of support she received.

She said New Zealand authorities had provided her with little support as a victim of crime because she moved home to Australia soon after the assault, while she was ineligible for help in Australia because the crime was committed overseas.

“If the victim was an overseas visitor we can only pay for the costs of treatment and rehabilitation while they are in New Zealand,” a spokesman for New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation confirmed this week.

Ms McLean said doctors at the man’s trial described her injuries among the worst they had seen in a rape case, but the New Zealanders had provided nothing for her physical injuries or the ongoing pain and anguish she suffered over the past 15 years or the cost of treating them.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her predecessor, Julie Bishop, have both advocated for her on these issues, so far without success.

“They (the ACC) said I didn’t disclose a lot to them at the time as I was in too much pain to be examined,” she said.

“I just fell through the cracks.”

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