US soldiers charged with raping pregnant woman face Italy trial

ROME (AFP) - Two American paratroopers charged with raping and beating a pregnant Romanian prostitute will stand trial in Italy, the justice ministry said Friday.

The two soldiers, aged 21 and 22, were arrested on Wednesday for the alleged attack in Vicenza in northern Italy, where the paratroopers are based.

"The two soldiers will be put on trial in Italy. This decision is final," Justice Minister Andrea Orlando said on Twitter on Friday.

Italian police, who did not name the woman, said the paratroopers were accused of kidnapping and raping the woman earlier this month, before beating her, stealing her wallet and dumping her in a field.

One of the soldiers had been accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a separate incident last November, police said.

In the latest attack, officers tracked down the soldiers after the woman memorised the numberplate of their car.

"There are two large US military bases in Vicenza where many Americans reside," Vincenza's mayor Achille Variati told AFP.

"They live in Italy, they have to respect Italian law. He who breaks the rules must face the same consequences as an Italian citizen," he said.

The paratroopers are currently under house arrest at the Del Din military barracks in Vincenza, police said.