Two Libyan soldiers accused of raping man in Cambridge could stand trial next year

Bassingbourn Barracks Credit: ITV News Anglia

Two Libyan soldiers accused of raping a man while stationed at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire could stand trial next year.

Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, were arrested earlier this month.

They did not enter pleas to the charge that they raped a man in his 20s on Christ's Pieces in Cambridge on October 26 when they appeared at Cambridge Crown Court today.

Judge Jonathan Haworth set a provisional trial date for May 5 next year. They will appear to enter a plea on January 23.

The men appeared via video link from HMP Peterborough and spoke through an Arabic interpreter to confirm their names.

They were arrested while undergoing training at Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire.

The arrests coincided with other concerns over the conduct of Libyan cadets training at the base and prompted the Ministry of Defence to send 300 soldiers back to their home country prematurely.

It threw into doubt an agreement to put 2,000 soldiers through basic infantry and junior command training at Bassingbourn.

The Libyan flag at Bassingbourn Barracks Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was reviewing whether Libyans could continue to train in the UK following "disciplinary issues".

The agreement was part of a pledge to support Libya's effort to improve security following the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mahmoud and Abogutila have been remanded in custody.