Monday, June 13, 2016
Islamic Justice: Woman convicted of adultery in Qatar after reporting rape
Qatar's Article 281 makes clear that any man who has extramarital sex "with a female over sixteen without compulsion, duress, or ruse shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to seven years." The next part of that code raises eyebrows: "The same penalty shall also be imposed on the female for her consent." And it's what has dealt a conviction to a Dutch woman trapped in the Arab country since she reported her own rape three months ago. The 22-year-old woman, IDed only as Laura, was given a one-year suspended sentence and $850 fine, Daphne Kerremans, a Dutch Foreign Ministry rep, said. Laura was accused of adultery after her drink was drugged at a Doha hotel in mid-March 2016 and she woke up in a stranger's apartment to find she had been sexually assaulted; when she notified police, she was arrested. Laura's lawyer says that she was on vacation at a hotel that permitted the sale of alcohol (liquor is mostly illegal in Qatar). A former Qatar justice minister said that defense lawyers would had to have proved "no voluntary actions" existed between the woman and the man, IDed as Syrian national Omar Abdullah Al-Hassan. He claims that the sex was consensual but that they argued after, prompting Laura to file her report; he received a sentence of 140 lashes — 100 for the extramarital sex, 40 for drinking booze, none for rape. The burden in Qatar of proving sexual assault is so strong that a man and woman walking together could be enough to convince officials that the woman gave the OK to sex later. Laura will be deported after paying her fine. "The ambassador is with her now and is making sure that she can go home as soon as possible," Kerremans said. "It was quite overwhelming for her."