A British woman was detained with “extra-marital sex” charges for reporting against a gang rape, in Dubai. A 25 year-old British tourist whose anonymity is maintained due to legal concerns, was allegedly raped by two British men while she was on a holiday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
When she reported the crime at a police station, she was immediately detained with "extra-marital sex" charges, while the offenders flew to UK, reports British newspaper The Independent.
According to the police, she is in violation of Emirates law.
A Britain-based campaign group called Detained in Dubai reported the victim was out on bail. They also reported the police had confiscated the victim's passport to prevent her from leaving the country. If she is continued to be treated as such, the legal proceedings will go on to entail imprisonment, deportation, flogging, and stoned to death.
The victim’s mother said: “I am losing my mind worrying about this.”
Media reports said that the two men had since flown to Birmingham, but this has not been confirmed.
The victim has to raise £24,000 for her legal fees, her friends and relatives said. They have set up fundraising events to ensure her safe and swift retrieval from Dubai to England in time for Christmas.
According to the Facebook page, the woman had gone to visit Dubai with a relative as part of a trip before she moved abroad.
The victim’s mother claimed she was met and befriended two British men in Dubai who allegedly raped her. After the rape, the victim went to the police to file a complaint and had the tables turned on her and was charged as the criminal instead.
Since her bail, she has been living with a British family in Dubai.
Radha Stairling, founder of Detained in Dubai, said: “It is just too risky for women, so they are scared to report crimes to the authorities,” she said. “If the Dubai authorities can’t catch the alleged assailant, all they have to do is prove that [the victim] had sex, which they do through medical examination, and they can accuse her of having had sex outside of marriage.”
“They have a long history of penalising rape victims.”
In the past year Detained in Dubai has been contacted by at least 25 people in the UAE asking if they should report a sexual assault. Ms Stirling said that once she explained the risk, victims usually did not report the attack.
In the past five years there have been at least ten cases in which victims of sexual assault have been charged with having sex outside marriage.
Ms Stirling said that the police regularly failed to differentiate between consensual intercourse and violent rape: “Victims go to them expecting justice, and end up being prosecuted. They not only invalidate their victimisation, they actually punish them for it.”
A Foreign Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are supporting a British woman in relation to this case and will remain in contact with her family.”