Four more men have been arrested for allegedly tweeting the name of the rape victim of Sheffield United soccer player Ched Evans, according to a report from the Associated Press. The arrests bring the total tally of individuals implicated by their related tweets to 16.
The four men were arrested and questioned in the city of Sheffield on Tuesday. All four are currently out on bail with obligations to return to a police station in North Wales in July.
Ched Evans was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman on April 20 and sentenced to five years in prison for the crime. In a news report covering the story, British TV channel Sky News accidentally displayed the name of the victim, which a number of fans siding with Evans rebroadcast on Twitter. The channel is now being investigated.
12 individuals were arrested on suspicion of malicious communication, under Section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, between April 20 and May 1.
Two of the men arrested Tuesday were also taken in on suspicion of malicious communication while the other two were arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the court of justice.
Rape and sexual assault victims in the United Kingdom are guaranteed the legal right to lifetime anonymity. Naming such victims in a publication or program is a criminal offense which carries a £5,000 ($8,000) fine.
"North Wales Police will seek to ensure that the legal anonymity of victims in rape cases under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 is protected and those who commit offences in this regard will be brought before the criminal justice system," NWP assistant chief constable Gareth Pritchard said in a statement.
"We wish to reassure victims of serious sexual offences of our continuing determination to support them."
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