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Friday, January 08, 2010

British rape victim jailed in Dubai

From the Sun (UK):

A BRITISH woman on a break in Dubai went to police after being raped - but SHE was arrested for having illegal sex.

The 23-year-old Londoner was attacked by a waiter in a hotel toilet after celebrating her engagement to her boyfriend with drinks.

But after she admitted boozing and sharing a hotel room with her fiancé, cops in the strict Islamic state arrested her for "illegal drinking" outside licensed premises and having sex outside marriage.

Her 44-year-old fiancé, also from London, was charged with the same offences. And both were thrown in police cells by officers who paid little heed to the rape.

The devastated couple were last night understood to be on bail awaiting trial and have had their passports confiscated. They could be jailed for up to six years if found guilty of the illicit sex charge.

British embassy officials in the desert emirate are helping them.

A diplomatic source said: "There have been some truly appalling injustices in Dubai but this one tops the lot.

"A desperate, distressed rape victim went with her boyfriend to report the attack to police. And both wound up behind bars.

"The police and authorities in Dubai have shamed themselves by yet again displaying a breathtaking lack of compassion and humanity."

The ordeal of the rape victim, a pretty Muslim of Pakistani descent, began after she joyfully accepted a marriage proposal from her boyfriend during a three-day New Year break.

She admitted drinking too much afterwards as they celebrated at Dubai Marina's luxurious Address Hotel - and passed out in a ladies' loo.

The waiter is said to have followed her into the toilets and raped her while she was semi-conscious.

Her fiancé was initially unaware of the attack and helped her to their room, where they slept until the next day.

But the horror of the rape came back to her when she woke - and the pair went to Jebel Ali police station to report it.

Yet unsympathetic cops immediately quizzed them about breaking the emirate's severe decency rules, which contain elements of Sharia law.

Medics were said to have shunned rape case procedures - but made sure they obtained a blood sample from the woman to prove she had been drinking.

After being locked up, she told a cellmate she was terrified the rapist had made her pregnant or given her a sexually transmitted disease.

She was given access to proper medical checks and a morning-after pill only after an appeal from British embassy staff.

She and her fiancé spent several days behind bars before being freed.

The cellmate, held for alleged cheque fraud, said: "She's a British girl but a Muslim, so I think they were tougher on her because of that.

"She was trying to report the rape but soon realised the policemen were more interested in how often she has sex with her boyfriend.

"They even asked if she did just normal sex or anything else in bed."

Her attacker, who is understood to be Syrian, is believed to have denied rape.

He claimed the Briton consented but has also been charged with "illegal sex".

A spokesman for the Address Hotel said: "The matter is being investigated by the authorities."