Woman Jailed Because She Was Raped — Again?

A  woman who is identified only as “Laura” was arrested in Qatar on suspicion of allegedly committing adultery despite having reported to law enforcement authorities that she was raped while on holiday after being drugged in a hotel — where the consumption of alcohol is reportedly permitted — and woke up the next morning “feeling unwell” in an apartment unfamiliar to her, according to this article written by Peter Kovessy and Shabina S. Khatri of Doha News.

Woman Jailed Because She Was Raped — Again?

The woman — who is 22 years old and from the Netherlands — went dancing at the hotel; but when she returned to the table after the first sip of her drink, she realised that she had been drugged, according to her attorney.

“Laura” has not been officially charged with the crime of engaging in extramarital sexual activity as well as an offense related to alcoholic consumption; yet she is currently still incarcerated. The arrest reportedly occurred on Monday, March 14, 2016 after she reported the rape.

The alleged attacker — who was also incarcerated — claimed that the sex was consensual and that “Laura” even asked for money.

A campaign which has been launched over the Internet to have “Laura” freed has been gaining in popularity, with more and more outraged supporters championing the cause.


A woman from Norway who was 24 years old — who brought a complaint of rape against her boss — was reportedly jailed for 16 months in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 for indecent behavior, perjury and alcohol consumption. She was eventually pardoned by the authorities and was permitted to return to Norway…

…but this story reminded me of the alleged rape of Alicia Gali by her co-workers at the Le Méridien Al Aqah hotel in Fujairah in June of 2008, followed by her subsequent imprisonment for eight months because her rape is supposedly considered an admission of engaging in illicit sex outside of marriage — an illegal act in the United Arab Emirates under the charge of adultery.

Gali was back home in Australia as of three years ago, struggling to return to living a normal life even though she was reportedly diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder, is unable to work, and has had to borrow money from family and friends to pay hospital and counseling. Gali had reportedly considered filing legal action against the hotel, which is a possible second reason for the release of the official statement — especially since Starwood Hotels and Resorts disagrees with the allegations.

The four men charged with raping Gali were reportedly prosecuted and were sentenced to prison terms. They allegedly instigated the rape by intentionally and purposely clogging a drain which resulted in flooding in her room, causing her to go to the hotel bar while she waited for the maintenance staff to fix the problem. A fellow employee reportedly spiked her drink when he refilled her glass with ice. Gali awakened during the afternoon on the next day with broken ribs and her entire body bruised.

I was just in Fujairah last year. It is difficult to believe that such a horrendous act could occur in this resort area of the United Arab Emirates. I intend to post articles with reports of my trip.

Women — or anyone who is innocent, for that matter — should not have to be concerned about enduring such a horrible experience whenever they travel.

In the meantime, the court hearing regarding the case involving “Laura” is expected to begin tomorrow, Monday, June 13, 2016; and I wish her all of the best — but she will still suffer from psychological trauma even if she is freed tomorrow if she was jailed simply because she was raped.

Source: FreeLaura of Facebook.

5 thoughts on “Woman Jailed Because She Was Raped — Again?”

  1. GUWonder says:

    So critics of the jailing of the alleged rape victim include members of Qatar’s ruling family? Seems like the Dutch woman will end up freed eventually, all without being convicted of a crime.

    It’s arrests like this that lead me to avoid spending a lot more time in the GCC countries, as they seem to do this kind of inhumane thing to rape victims and others as part of some kind of effort to continue the facade of being “very safe” for one and all there. It just isn’t the case. Shame, shame on Qatar and other jurisdictions that arrest those reporting a crime without then pursuing a timely and fair prosecution for something like obstruction of justice.

    By the way, just because a victim of crime reports a crime doesn’t mean the victim won’t be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution based on what the reporting victim provides police. But this is the case even in the US sometimes, as being a victim of crime doesn’t provide blanket immunity from prosecution in the US.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Your prediction was partially correct, GUWonder: she was freed; but she was also convicted and received a suspended prison sentence for one year.

      She cannot leave Doha without first paying a fine.

      I intend to cover this update in a follow-up article.

      In the meantime, what you wrote is sad but true: “just because a victim of crime reports a crime doesn’t mean the victim won’t be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution based on what the reporting victim provides police.”

  2. GUWonder says:

    According to some press report, the Dutch woman’s travel companion admitted to being a prostitute. That would be a complicating factor, even as it comes across as “guilt by association”. The Dutch government said a complicating factor in the situation was that the Dutch woman had supposedly “converted to Islam”, although I’m not sure why that would matter in this case.

    The Dutch woman has been ordered to be deported from Qatar and had her guilty verdict sentence set up as a suspended sentence of sort. The accused rapist — a Syrian national in Qatar — is sentenced to more than a hundred lashes. The mother of the Dutch woman has been reported to be thrilled by the “good” news.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I should have read this comment before replying to your last comment, GUWonder

      …and we really do not know the entire story as to whether or not “Laura” was completely innocent — whether simply by association with a travel companion who admitted bot being a prostitute or possibly sharing in the blame for this incident.

      It is a tough line to straddle: rape victims should not feel intimidated and absolutely should come forth to report the crime; and yet there are also incidents of unscrupulous women who falsely throw the allegation of rape around to either get someone else in trouble or to escape disciplinary action themselves.

      Either way, neither of us were there to know the entire truth of this matter…

  3. Anne says:

    Last week, I have been hold 3 days in prison by the Kuwait Criminal Investigation Department CID for having sex outside marriage with my boyfriend in a hotel in Kuwait. Many innocent women were hold in the CID police prison for investigation, including a Philippinese lady that had a pregnancy with her boyfriend. She didn’t give news to her family since more than 1 month and I still don’t know if they let her contact her family…. I wrote email to the Ambassy of Philippines, China and Romania for these ladies but I had no news, except from the Ambassy of Romania that informed in their deportation. This is breaking human rights and is traumatising to people’s lifes that are being treated as criminals for the situations as described above.

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