Saturday, December 8, 2012

UAE: British Expat, 28, Gang-Raped by Iranians, Fined US$272 for Consuming Alcohol

As a follow-up to my posting of November 30, entitled "UAE: Abduction, Rape of British Expat Illustrates Justice Abroad Can Be Elusive," a British woman, 28, employed by a Dubai company on a work permit, has since been fined £169 (US$272) for drinking alcohol without a license.

Even though the tragic victim in this case, a manager for a Dubai-based company, drank several glasses of wine in Dubai's Rock Bottom Cafe, a rather seedy "watering hole," known for slow service, bad food and an establishment that fails to remind foreigner drinkers of alcohol, who are resident in the UAE, that they need a license to even consume alcohol in the Emirates.

As a matter of interest, the Rock Bottom Cafe is also the last establishment that British Navy sailor Timmy MacColl, 27, was seen in on May 27, 2012, after his shipmates paid a Dubai taxi driver in advance to take him back to his ship, the HMS Westminster. MacColl was never seen again and leaves behind a wife and three children, one of whom was born after the seaman disappeared.  

COMMENT: Although my November 30, posting documents very well the sad details of how the resident British woman came to be gang-raped by three Iranian men, two of whom are in police custody, the real tragedy is that the UAE's archaic and outdated criminal justice system makes it very, very difficult for women victimized by rape to seek justice in the UAE.

To make matters worse, the victim described above was severely fined for drinking alcohol, even though no one at the Rock Bottom happened to mention to her that she needed a liquor license to even consume alcohol.

Unfortunately, had the British woman's employer adequately briefed her on the in's and out's of how an expat resident in the UAE would have obtained a personal alcohol license, she never would have been fined.

As a matter of interest, a well-known website, outlines the details of applying for a personal liquor license:

Even the British Foreign Office reports that Brits are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.