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German court throws out model's appeal over false rape claims

An appeals court ruled that Gina-Lisa Lohfink falsely accused two men of rape but asked for her fine to be revised. The men had previously been found guilty of spreading a sex tape of Lohfink without her consent.

The court on Friday refused a request by Lohfink's lawyers to revise the guilty verdict of another Berlin court from August 2016 , but ordered that her 20,000 euro ($21,245) fine should be renegotiated. A lower court will determine the new amount of her fine.

Two men had sued Lohfink, a former contestant on Germany's Next Top Model who most recently participated in the latest edition of "I'm a celebrity… get me out of here!," after she had claimed they had drugged and raped her.

The two men recorded a June 2012 encounter with Lohfink and released the video online. While the two men have been found guilty of spreading the sex tape without Lohfink's consent, rape charges the 30-year-old television personality filed against them were dismissed.

Sparked debate about rape

Lohfink can be heard saying "No" and "Stop it" in the video, but judges ruled that there was no conclusive proof that Lohfink had been drugged or raped, and that her objection was to being filmed rather than having sex with the men.

In her original case, Lohfink had said she did not consent to sex or to being filmed by the men.

The court case against Lohfink captured a lot of media attention in Germany. Many women's right activists voiced their support for the model, describing her case as symptomatical for lax sexual assault laws. Others accused Lohfink of using the court case as a publicity stunt to keep herself in the media spotlight.

In July 2016, in the midst of the Lohfink's case, the German parliament passed a reform of the sexual assault law. Rape is now defined as a sexual act where the perpetrator acts against the "discernible will" of the victim. Before the reform, victims had to prove that their rapist violently forced himself (or herself) on them or that he (or she) had threatened them with violence. This definition arguably excluded several instances commonly considered to be rape- such as cases where the perpetrator assaults someone who is too inebriated to actively resist an assault.

mb/sms (AFP, dpa)

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