DOHA , Qatar (UPI) — A Dutch tourist in Qatar who reported she was raped was found guilty of illicit sex, and will be deported.
The woman, identified only as Laura, 22, had been jailed since March. In a Doha court Monday she received a one-year suspended sentence for “illicit consensual fornication” and an $823 fine for public drunkenness. She will also be deported; the Dutch ambassador to Qatar, Yvette Burghgraef-van Eechoud, said after court proceedings, “We will do everything we can to get her out of the country as soon as possible to where she says she wants to go.”
Her lawyer contended she ingested a spiked drink at the bar of the W Doha Hotel, awoke in an unfamiliar room and concluded she had been raped.
Her alleged attacker, identified as Omar Abdullah al-Hasan and referred to by a court official as a Syrian, was found guilty of the same charges. He received a penalty of 100 lashes for the fornication crime, and 40 more lashes for drinking alcohol. Under Qatari law he, as a Muslim, is not permitted to drink alcohol at all. Hasan admitted engaging in sex with the woman but insisted it was consensual.
Neither defendant appeared in court Monday, the third hearing in the trial. The rape claim was never mentioned during court proceedings.
The deeply conservative Muslim country regards “fornication outside of marriage,” called “Zina,” as a serious crime, regardless of marital status. In 2013 in the nearby United Arab Emirates, a Norwegian woman reported she was raped, and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for unlawful sex, making a false statement and illegally consuming alcohol.
The Dutch woman’s case invites conjecture regarding how Qatar will handle its role as host of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. An influx of visitors from other countries is expected, and many will likely be unfamiliar with the country’s strict laws.
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