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Dubai Jails Raped Women For 4 Months - And Rapist For 2 Months

An Austrian woman who fled Dubai after she was raped and instead of getting counselling was told she was to be charged for having sex outside marriage has been jailed for four months by a court in her absence.

The young woman holidaymaker, not named for legal reasons, was told she was due to be charged after she filed rape charges against the man, a banker that she had met while on holiday in the country. Her complaint led to authorities briefly jailing her and taking her passport, but she was allowed to return home after the intervention of Austrian officials.

The banker, who denies he had sex with the woman, was jailed for two months and will then be extradited.

The 29-year-old woman, who is believed to be Muslim, will have to go to Dubai if she wants to appeal the ruling, but has already said she will not be returning to the country as there was little chance of winning, and she did not want to be jailed. There is also no risk that Austria would extradite her, but the conviction could make it difficult for her to travel to some countries because of the risk of extradition.

Sex outside marriage is illegal in the United Arab Emirate capital regardless of the reason, and that also applies to rape victims.

The woman told authorities on 1 December last year that she was raped by the banker, a Yemeni citizen, in a hotel garage. The man however claimed he was a victim and that the teenager had offered him sex for money.

The case echoes that of a Norwegian woman, who was briefly jailed for similar reasons. She was sentenced to 16 months in prison, but was allowed to leave instead of serving her term.

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