Italy’s interior minister and Deputy PM Matteo Salvini has called for three young men, who allegedly gang-raped an American teenager in Sicily, to be chemically castrated if convicted.

The three men were arrested on suspicion of raping the 18-year-old, who was working as an au pair in Catania, on the east coast of Sicily.

The Italian leader insisted that the alleged rapists must face guaranteed jail time and be subjected to chemical castration, as he described the offenders as “molesting worms”.

“No leniency for the molesting worms who raped a tourist in Catania……Guaranteed jail time and chemical castration!” Salvini tweeted

Salvini has called for chemical castration for rapists and pedophiles in the past, both as interior minister and before the general election last March, during the campaign trail.

The Local.It reports: The case concerns three Sicilian men who are accused of gang-raping an 19-year-old American woman in the city of Catania earlier this month. The suspects, reported to be aged between 19 and 20, were arrested last week having been identified from videos filmed throughout the evening on the group’s phones.

According to the alleged victim, who had been working as an au pair for a local family for three months, she met the men in a bar on the evening of March 15th and, on the pretext of going to another bar together, they forced her into a car and drove to a remote area where they took turns to assault her.

Phone records published in the Italian press show that the woman repeatedly attempted to call the emergency number 112 and even 911, the US equivalent, during the almost two hours she says she was in the car, but the men allegedly cut off her calls. Fragments of the attack were reportedly recorded in WhatsApp voice messages that she sent to try to alert a friend, in which TGCOM24 reports that she can be heard to say “Help, help, I’m in a car” and “No, enough, I don’t want to, I don’t want to”.

The men themselves filmed the attack on their phones, according to the woman, who says that one of them contacted her on social media the following day to ask if she wanted to go out again.

She reported the attack to the Italian police later that day and has since returned to the United States, reported Repubblica.

Lawyers for the suspects complain that their clients, who have been named in the Italian press alongside pictures taken from their Facebook profiles, are being unfairly tried in the media. Maria Luisa Ferrari, a lawyer for one of the three suspects, told Repubblica that “a picture is emerging of 19-year-old boys who wanted to have fun and who lost control”.

That defence is unlikely to win sympathy from those who say Italy regularly fails to deliver justice for violence against women.

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