Prosecutor: Sydney man whipped in religious attack

AP News
Posted: Jul 19, 2011 2:15 AM
Prosecutor: Sydney man whipped in religious attack

A prosecutor in Australia filed charges Tuesday against one of four men accused of breaking into a Sydney man's home late at night, holding him down on his bed and whipping him 40 times with a cable as a religious punishment.

Tolga Cifci, 20, appeared in court Tuesday charged with aggravated breaking and entering and committing an indictable offense. He did not enter a plea.

He is one of four men accused of participating in the Sunday attack. A second man was arrested on Tuesday and faces similar charges, plus two counts of stealing. Police said their investigation is continuing.

Police prosecutor George Lolis told Burwood Local Court that Cifci targeted the man for doing "something against Islam." He did not specify further, and New South Wales state police declined to comment. The victim's name has not been released.

Lolis told the court that Cifci showed "a complete and utter disregard for the laws of this state." If convicted, Cifci could face up to 20 years in prison, Lolis said.

Cifci was granted bail after his lawyer, Ertunc Ozen, said his client was a person of "prior good character" who posed no threat to the community.

Magistrate Tim Keddy ordered Cifci to surrender his passport, imposed a curfew, and said Cifci could not leave his home without one of his parents.