Wednesday, January 22, 2014

UAE: Once Again, Emirates Officials Seem to Be Telling Foreigners to "Go Away"

According to The Austrian Independent, an Austrian tourist, 24, who claimed she was raped by a policeman's son in Dubai has been told that she is facing prison time herself: For having sex outside of marriage.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, this is an medieval law that no doubt goes back centuries. 

Sadly, it hardly represents modern-day thinking in the world we live in, not the world we would like to live in.

Assuredly, the UAE must decide if it is going to join the world as it is, or continue to embrace the thinking of yesteryear.

The bottom-line is: If the UAE is going to continue to imprison rape victims for having "sex outside of marriage," then they should give up the charade that they are a civilized society. 

The young Austrian woman reported the rape to Dubai police expecting that they would take action against the accused, and instead found herself facing criminal charges.

Even more stunning is the fact that the Austrian woman states that she was told by one of the police officers in Dubai that she complained to that she could escape charges if she were prepared to marry her rapist!

In most civilized countries, the police are generally empathetic to crime victims, but unfortunately not so in the UAE.

The Austrian woman alleges that she was raped in her car on December 2, 2013.

The victim related that she had been in the UAE with friends on holiday and accepted an offer by the man to drive her home. Yet, once they had walked into an underground parking garage underneath a five-star hotel, she was raped "by the so-called gentleman who offer to walk her to her car."

The assailant who raped the young woman then attempted to drive the woman away from the hotel, but she was successful in jumping out of the car screaming for help--where other guests helped her and the police were called.

As well as facing charges of sex outside marriage it is also alleged that she had been drinking. Both actions are illegal in United Arab Emirate State.

According to Austrian media, her rapist initially claimed that the woman had offered him sex because she was drunk, and then later claimed that she was a prostitute who had demanded money for sex, both accounts she has dismissed as being untrue. 

The police are continuing their investigation. Thankfully, she is NOT being held in police custody, but at the same time she is hardly free to leave the country. 

CCTV surveillance footage from the parking garage has been turned over to the police for analysis, which immediate puts into question whether the original footage will be altered to benefit the government. 

Just last year a young Norwegian interior designer, Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, was sentenced to 16 months in prison after suffering a similar fate and being raped and convicted of sex outside marriage.

Interestingly both the latest case involving the Austrian woman and the earlier case involving the Norwegian woman had both involved in making complaints at the same police station in Dubai.

The Norwegian rape victim was convicted and sentenced on charges of having unlawful sex, making a false statement and illegal consumption of alcohol.

Despite the Norwegian woman's conviction, she was later pardoned and released. Her rapist was also freed.

In the UAE, as in a number of other countries where Islamic law prevails,  a rape conviction can require either a confession or the testimony of four adult MALE witnesses. So much for equitable justice.

Justice for foreign women is non-existent in the UAE.

As a Muslim country, the UAE implements Sharia law which prohibits the purchase and consumption of alcohol.

UAE authorities are aware that drinking alcohol is popular among non-Muslims, so for that reason the UAE sets rules for purchasing and drinking alcohol.

In hotels in all emirates except Sharjah, where the sale, consumption or possession of alcohol is prohibited, alcohol is offered to customers, providing they have been issued a personal liquor license.

Drunkenness in public is also an offense, although the maximum blood alcohol level is rarely publicized.

Those caught drunk or drinking in public may be punished as per Sharia law which implements lashes, but the judge can replace lashing with other punishments such as a jail term, fine or deportation.

There is also a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving.

According to the US Department of State:

"Drinking or possession of alcohol without a Ministry of Interior liquor permit is illegal and could result in arrest and/or fines and imprisonment. Alcohol is served at bars in most major hotels, but is intended for guests of the hotel. Persons who are not guests of the hotel and who consume alcohol in the restaurants and bars, technically are required to have their own personal liquor license. Liquor licenses are issued only to non-Muslim persons who possess UAE residency permits. Public drunkenness and driving under the influence, regardless of one’s blood alcohol content level, are considered serious offenses. Persons arrested on alcohol-related offenses are often jailed for many days as they await a court hearing. Penalties may include hefty jail sentences and fines and, for Muslims (even those holding US citizenship), lashings."

Thus, if you don't possess a UAE residency permit, you cannot obtain a liquor permit, which means you should not drink any alcoholic beverage in any public place in the UAE, even if they are sold to non-Muslims.

The reason you can't drink alcohol in a public place, even if sold, is because only those with a UAE residency permit can drink publicly in the UAE. On the other hand, the police have a zero-tolerance for public drinking, which means you could be arrested and confined even if you have a UAE residency permit and a liquor permit.