WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland has opened an investigation into the suspected gang rape of a Polish tourist on a popular Italy beach, while Italian prosecutors said Monday they have gathered evidence that should help track down the assailants.
A spokeswoman for Warsaw prosecutors, Magdalena Sowa, said a prosecutor and police experts are scheduled to travel to Rimini, an Adriatic town on Italy's southern coast, on Tuesday. They plan to assist Italian investigators and gather evidence for Poland's own investigation of the attack that took place early Saturday on a secluded stretch of beach there.
The four men who allegedly raped the 26-year-old woman also allegedly beat her companion, also aged 26. The couple reported being robbed as well.
Poland's Justice Minister and Prosecutor General, Zbigniew Ziobro, ordered the Polish investigation, calling the attack a "horrible crime."
His deputy, Patryk Jaki, said on Twitter that the attackers should get the death penalty, but toned the comment down later, saying he only wanted to emphasize the cruelty of the attack.
Rimini's chief prosecutor, Paolo Giovagnoli, said security camera images and descriptions from the victims would be helpful in identifying suspects.
"We have an (investigative) track, I am confident," Giovagnoli was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying. "I believe we can solve this in a short time."
Italian news reports said the suspects are believed to be four North Africans with a history of drug trafficking.
The victims were hospitalized, and the woman remains in the hospital. The Fakt tabloid said they are from Lodz, in central Poland.
Italian police have said they were also investigating if the same suspects raped and assaulted a transgender person on a road near the Rimini beach shortly after the Poles were attacked.
Frances D'Emilio in Rome contributed to this report