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.
Just when you think you feel safe to report being drugged & raped, you get charged with extramarital sex and alcohol offense??? #FreeLaura
— Wafa Saidi (@WWaffles) June 12, 2016
Charging a woman *because she was raped* is a new low! Our justice system should be protecting victims, not arresting them! #FreeLaura
— Asma (@Asma_AlJehani) June 11, 2016
By blaming women for being raped you're essentially taking part of the blame away from the rapist and putting it on the victim #FreeLaura
— Anood Al-Thani (@Al_Anood) June 11, 2016
— Ahoud H. Al-Thani (@AhoudAlThani) June 11, 2016
— Brenda StoterBoscolo (@BrendaStoter) June 11, 2016
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.