An Australian man has been jailed for three years over an horrific assault on a heavily-pregnant Muslim woman.
Mother-of-four Rana Elasmar was 38 weeks pregnant when she was attacked in a cafe in Sydney last November.
Stipe “Steven” Lozina – who described himself as a “chronic paranoid schizophrenic” – approached her table and, after briefly speaking to her, punched her several times and, when she fell on the floor, stamped on her head.
Ms Elasmar, 32, had been sitting at a table with two women, who along with other customers tried to restrain Lozina and eventually managed to pull him away.
Elasmar deliberately turned her abdomen away from her attacker – and prayed for God to protect her child as she feared being killed, the court heard.
Ms Elasmar said Lozina first asked for money before assaulting her and yelling “you Muslims raped my mum.” She suffered minor injuries and said her son Zayn is “happy and healthy.”
Lozina was removed from the sentencing hearing at Parramatta district court on Thursday after a racist outburst.
Ms Elasmar said: “The victim suffers with the consequences far longer than the time the offender serves. It’s worrying that he’s still displaying aggressive behaviour and a short temper.”
Her husband, Azzam Elasmar, added: “Thinking about this guy potentially being on the streets within two years is a safety hazard for the community, it puts everyone at risk. This guy can definitely reoffend.”
Lozina, 44, had told the court he was remorseful, but that he was “too violent” to walk free. According to 9News, last month he said: “I belong in a hospital.”
His victim said it was “nerve-racking” to sit in court, listen to him and relive the assault, but said that she felt relieved to finish the court process.
She said: “I’ve been verbally abused before because of my religion, but this has cemented that the Australian public is really supportive. It’s given me confidence to walk out again and wear my hijab.
“It’s been a positive in showing that Islam is not something to be feared.”