International

Australian man jailed after stomping on pregnant Muslim woman

Victim Rana Elasmar (centre) holding hands with her husband Azzam (right) as they arrive with supporters at Parramatta District Court in Sydney, Thursday, October 1, 2020. Stipe Lozina is being sentenced for punching and stomping on the head of a woman who was 38-weeks' pregnant. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVINGNo Use Australia. No Use New Zealand.

An Australian man who punched and stomped on a pregnant Muslim woman has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Rana Elasmar, a mother of four, was 38 weeks pregnant when the attack took place last November, according to CNN affiliate Nine News. She was sitting in a Sydney cafe, wearing a hijab, when Stipe Lozina approached her table.

After briefly speaking to her, Lozina punched Elasmar several times and stomped on her head when she fell to the ground. Elasmar’s friends and other patrons leapt from their seats to restrain him.

Lozina allegedly made a racist remark before the unprovoked attack, according to Nine News. Elasmar told Nine News that she had been focused on protecting her unborn baby.

She suffered minor injuries in the attack and her son was unharmed.

“If you feel the right to physically or verbally abuse somebody who looks a bit different than you, then Australia’s not the right country for you,” she told reporters outside court last month.

Months after the attack, Elasmar was still experiencing the physical and psychological effects, her sister told CNN affiliate Seven News in June.

Lozina pleaded guilty to assault, but he claimed it was not an Islamophobic or racist attack. “I don’t hate them, but I don’t get along with them. I’ve got no business with them,” Lozina said in court, according to Nine News.

On Thursday, he was sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years.