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Jury sworn in as trial begins of Libyan soldiers accused of rape

Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A jury has been sworn in for the trial of two Libyan soldiers accused of raping a man while being trained in Britain.

Moktair Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abugtila, 23, allegedly went into Cambridge in the early hours of October 26 last year and raped a 23-year-old British man.

The pair are each accused of one count of rape, one count of aiding and abetting rape and a third charge each of attempted rape against the same victim.

The jury of five men and seven women were sworn in at Cambridge Crown Court on Tuesday.

Both men were among 300 Libyan cadets based at the former RAF base at Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire.

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Libyan soldiers on trial over alleged rape in Cambridge

Two Libyan soldiers, who have denied raping a man while stationed in Cambridgeshire, are due to stand trail later.

Bassingbourn Barracks Credit: ITV News Anglia

Moktair Ali Saad Mahmoud (33) and Ibrahim Abugtila (23) were being trained at Bassingbourn Barracks by the British Army when the attack happened on Christ's Pieces in Cambridge last October.

The trial at Cambridge Crown Court is expected to last six days.

MOD was warned of security risks over Libyan soldiers at Bassingbourn

Bassingbourn barracks, Cambridgshire Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's emerged that the Ministry of Defence was warned of security risks surrounding an agreement to train Libyan soldiers at a barracks near Cambridge.

Around 300 soldiers arrived in the UK in June to undergo training at Bassingbourn Barracks, as part of an effort to support Libya's new Government.

But their training was cut short after 5 were charged with sexual assaults and other concerns were raised about the conduct of the cadets.

Libyan soldiers seek asylum

It's emerged a "handful" of Libyan soldiers who were being trained at the Bassingbourn army base in Cambridgeshire have claimed asylum to remain in the UK.

More than 300 troops were sent home after five cadets were charged in connection with a string of sex attacks in Cambridge last month. The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has now confirmed that some of the soldiers have refused to return to Libya, despite the Prime Minister insisting that none should be granted asylum.

Watch below to see Michael Fallon make his announcement in the Commons

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Libyan troops to be trained in Cambridgeshire

Libyan troops are to be trained in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire Credit: ITV News Anglia

Up to 2,000 members of the Libyan Armed Forces are to be trained by British military at the army site in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “The Government firmly believes that a stable, open and democratic Libya contributing to wider regional stability and security is in the UK’s interest.

"That is why we are working closely with the US and other European countries, to lead the broader international effort, to support Libya’s democratic transition and the Libyan authorities’ efforts to make visible improvements in public security in Libya.”

Libyan armed forces to be trained in Cambridgeshire

Up to 2,000 members of the Libyan Armed Forces are to be trained by British military at the army site in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.

The British government says it's an effort to professionalise Libya's military. They will be coached in basic infantry skills and leadership.

Foreign Secretary William Hague says they will be trained in small groups over a 10-week course and will be vetted in advance for medical, physical and behavioural suitability.

The Libyan Government will pay the costs of the training.

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