RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A Brazilian court on Wednesday convicted three men for the rape of an American tourist in Rio de Janeiro this year, a crime that called global attention to security concerns ahead of the World Cup, Olympics and other major international events set to take place in the city.
Jonathan Froudakis de Souza and Walace Aparecido Souza were both sentenced to 49 years, 3 months and 11 days for the crimes of grand theft, rape and extortion. Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos was sentenced to 21 years and 7 months, according to a statement released by Rio de Janeiro state's Court of Justice late Wednesday. All three men are in their early twenties.
The crime occurred in March after the American student and her French boyfriend hailed a van operated by the three men as it passed through the touristy seaside neighborhood of Copacabana. Minivans are used by millions of residents in Rio as an alternative to packed buses and subway trains.
Instead of taking the couple to their intended destination in central Rio, the men forced other passengers to leave the van and then proceeded to rape the woman and beat her boyfriend with a metal rod, police said.
The perpetrators then went on to rob the victims and demand codes for debit and credit cards, according to the court's statement.
Despite progress against drug traffickers and petty crime, Rio continues to suffer from violent crime at levels above that of many other cities of comparable size.
(Reporting by Asher Levine; editing by Andrew Hay)