Former UN employee sentenced to 15 years for drugging and raping several women during nearly two decades of humanitarian missions

Steph Deschamps / October 28, 2022

A former United Nations employee was sentenced Thursday in a New York court to 15 years in prison for drugging and raping several women during nearly two decades of humanitarian missions in the Middle East.


Karim Elkorany sexually assaulted at least 20 women, most of whom were relatives, during work trips to Iraq, Egypt and the United States.


Journalists, Fulbright scholars and UN employees were among nine women who spoke at his trial in a Manhattan federal court. They testified that they were haunted by not knowing the details of their assault, which was committed while they were unconscious, and by not knowing about the drugs that Elkorany injected into them. They also stressed that the violence they were committing was an open secret.


A journalist told of being raped by the former UN employee in Kurdistan in November 2016. She described the trauma that followed the assault as a cancer.


Karim Elkorany had pleaded guilty in May to charges of sexual assault and lying to the FBI, the federal law enforcement agency in the United States.


Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald imposed the harshest possible sentence for these charges. In particular, she pointed out that Elkorany never considered whether the drugs he administered to his victims could cause permanent damage.


The assistant federal prosecutor also pointed out that Elkorany photographed unconscious women and gave some victims STIs because he did not wear a condom. The federal prosecutor called Elkorany’s crimes “monstrous”.


Karim Elkorany began working in international aid, development and relations in 2005. He worked for Unicef in Iraq between 2013 and 2016, before being promoted to communications specialist.


The 30-year-old apologized to the victims in court.

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