NEWS

Qatar Convicts Dutch Rape Survivor for Having Sex Outside Of Marriage

13/06/2016 13:50

A Dutch woman who told police she had been raped in Qatar has been convicted of having sex outside of marriage.

The 22-year-old woman had been held for nearly three months but was released on Monday after receiving a one-year suspended sentence. She was also fined $845.

The woman, who was on holiday with a friend, went out for drinks at a hotel bar in the Qatari capital of Doha in mid March.

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Alcohol is available at high-end hotels in Qatar and duty-free shops

While at the bar, she believes someone "messed with her drink" and her memory became hazy, lawyer Brian Lokollo said. She later awoke alone, her clothes torn and the victim of a rape, he told the Associated Press.

She was immediately detained after reporting the attack, Lokollo said, and she has appeared in court three times. She will be deported once the fine is paid.

Her alleged attacker, who said the sex was consensual, was sentenced to 100 lashes for having sex outside of marriage, the BBC writes.

The channel adds he will be given a further 40 lashes for consuming alcohol.

The Dutch woman's case highlights the societal differences in Qatar, home to gleaming skyscrapers and international aspirations that practices a highly conservative form of Islam similar to that of neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Her case has raised new questions ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup tournament, which likely will draw tens of thousands of Western tourists unfamiliar with the Islamic-based legal codes that govern the small peninsular nation.

Alcohol is available at high-end hotels in Qatar and duty-free shops at its massive international airport. However, residents must have permission from their employers to buy at the country's only government-run liquor store. Sex out of wedlock is illegal.

Similar cases also have occurred elsewhere in the Gulf Arab states.

In 2008, an Australian woman said she was jailed for eight months after reporting that she was gang-raped at a hotel in the United Arab Emirates.

In 2013, a Norwegian woman who reported being raped in Dubai received a 16-month sentence for having sex outside of marriage, though she was pardoned and allowed to leave the country. 

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