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Qatar Tourist Allegedly Raped, Gets Fine, Jail Sentence

| by Michael Doherty
A street in Doha, Qatar.A street in Doha, Qatar.

A Dutch woman vacationing in Doha, Qatar, who told police she was raped, was arrested and given a fine and suspended jail sentence for adultery.

The 22-year-old woman, who was on vacation with a friend, said that she went out for drinks on March 15 and was drugged at a hotel bar. When she woke up, reports the Daily Mail, she said she had been raped.

The woman, who has been identified in the media only as Laura, went to the Qatari police with her accusation. Police arrested her for adultery and gave her a fine of $800. She was also given a one-year suspended jail sentence, and told that she would be deported from Qatar after she paid the fine.

Omar Abdullah al-Hasan, the man accused of sexually assaulting Laura received a sentence of 140 lashes, 100 for adultery and 40 for drinking alcohol. He will not serve jail time. Hasan said the sex was consensual and claimed that Laura asked him for money.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

"She went dancing but when she returned to the table after the first sip of her drink, she realized that she had been drugged," said Brian Lokollo, Laura's lawyer. "She really didn't feel very well."

"The young woman remembers nothing more until the following morning when she woke up in a totally unfamiliar apartment and realized to her great horror, that she had been raped," Lokollo added.

Qatar, a country with strict Islamic laws, has a ban on sex outside of marriage, as well as heavy restrictions on alcohol. Liquor is only available at hotels, the duty-free shops in Qatar's international airport, and at a government-run liquor store which Qatari citizens must obtain their employers' permission to shop at.

"We will do everything to get her out of the country as soon as possible to where she wants to go," said Yvette Burghgraef - van Eechoud, the Netherlands' ambassador to Qatar, who added that she expected Laura to leave Qatar in a few days.

The court official described Laura's sentence as "lenient," according to Al Jazeera. "Had she been a Muslim woman, she would have received at least five years in jail," said the official. "No one can get out of such charges here in Qatar."

Source: Daily Mail, Al Jazeera / Photo credit: Larry Johnson/Flickr

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