An asylum-seeker from Congo who is the alleged head of a group that carried out a brutal beating and two gang rapes at the Italian coastal resort of Rimini in August, went on trial for the attacks on Tuesday.
In the fast-track trial, Guerlin Butungu is accused of being the leader of the four-member gang including three minors who raped a Polish tourist in Rimini on the night of 26-27 August after beating her partner unconscious.
The gang is also accused of raping a Peruvian transsexual a little later on the same night and of robbing and attempting violence against an Italian couple in Rimini on 12 August.
The three other alleged gang members have all been arrested and were remanded in jail in September by a judge in Bologna.
Butungu initially denied involvement in the brutal attacks that shocked Italy but later confessed to the crimes.
The other suspects in the case are two Moroccan brothers aged 15 and 17 and a 16-year-old Nigerian.