A US serviceman aged 28 years from the airbase of Lajes in the Azores has been charged with attempted murder, two rapes, an assault and another of kidnapping a woman aged 26 years, it was announced on 16th February by the Public Ministry.

According to information on the website of the Attorney General’s Office of the Azores, “the facts occurred on November 1, 2016, in the municipality of Praia da Vitória, on Terceira Island.”

In a statement issued on the arrest of the accused, the Criminal Investigation Department of Ponta Delgada of the Judiciary Police revealed that the suspect took advantage of the fact that he knew the victim. The suspect convinced her to accept a lift in his motor vehicle, against her will, to an isolated place where he allegedly assaulted and raped her. ”

“He then took her to another place near the coast, where he again allegedly raped and assaulted her with a knife and attempted to kill her by drowning, in order to prevent her from reporting the incidents”, Said the statement from the Judiciary.

She then tried to free herself and fled towards the sea, where she remained until she was able to obtain help from a passer-by who took her to a hospital.

The Attorney General of the Region of the Azores points out that in this case the Portuguese State did not renounce the criminal jurisdiction provided for in the 1995 Cooperation and Defence Agreement between Portugal and the United States of America.

Article VIII of Annex H to this Agreement states that, “recognizing the responsibility of the military authorities of the United States of America to maintain order and discipline of their forces, Portugal shall, at the request of the said authorities, renounce (…) Exercise of its criminal jurisdiction over members of the force, except in cases of particular importance to Portugal.”

The defendant remains under detention