ECHR | Emirates Center for Human Rights

ECHR | Emirates Center for Human Rights
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HomeNewsBriton who reported rape in Dubai could face jail for extramarital sexBriton who reported rape in Dubai could face jail for extramarital sex

Briton who reported rape in Dubai could face jail for extramarital sex

A British woman who reported being raped by two men is “petrified” after being told she faces jail in Dubai for extramarital sex.

The 25-year-old tourist claimed she was attacked by two men while on holiday in the United Arab Emirates and reported the incident to police.

But officers then charged the professional from Cheshire with extramarital sex and, despite being bailed, she is not allowed to leave the country. Her passport has been confiscated and UK-based UAE legal experts Detained in Dubai said she could face a prison sentence if found guilty.

The family of the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have set up fundraising pages online to raise money to cover her legal costs. She is currently residing in a safe house.

The woman’s father wrote online that his daughter had met the two men in her hotel who raped her. He claims the alleged attack was filmed. He added: “She is stranded, is not allowed to leave the country, and is alone scared, and in a dreadful situation, as you can imagine.”

Shortly afterwards, two men were arrested at Dubai airport. They have been named as thai boxer David Butlin, 22, and footballer Louis Harris, 24. They have both been bailed and also remain in the country.

Butlin and Harris, who are cousins and both live in the West Midlands, have appeared on the Instagram page of Towie’s James Argent. They were pictured at a Dubai beach club with the reality TV star. The men are understood to firmly deny the claims.

A relative of Harris, who lives in Lichfield, Staffordshire, said it was a “difficult” time. She said: “All I’ll say is that he’s a really lovely boy. We can’t comment further but it’s a difficult time.”

 

One neighbour – who wished to remain anonymous – said Butlin was often flying back and forth from Dubai, where the alleged rape took place. They said: “It’s always on Facebook when he goes there. It must cost a lot of money.”

It is understood that the UK Foreign Office is providing assistance, including the alleged victim and two UK nationals, and working with the local authorities.

In a post on a fundraising page, the woman’s father wrote: “She was befriended by two guys from Birmingham ... and went with them for a drink, in a hotel where they were staying, the guys concerned were travelling home in around 4/5 hours.”

 

He added: “(NAME) was taken to the police station where the incident was reported, and the prosecutor is setting a date for her trial, which is a complicated scenario because of the laws of the country.”

After reporting the alleged assault, the woman ended up in a prison cell. Her passport was confiscated and her family claim she now faces trial. Her relative returned to the UK and she was joined in the UAE by her mother. It is understood her mother has also now returned to the UK .

Her father wrote: “(NAME) has been put in a safe house, but is stranded in the country for a period of between three and six months, or even longer, until a trial date is confirmed and the case is brought to court.”

It is claimed that the woman has had to find a lawyer to represent her and legal costs will amount to £24,000.

Nine days ago her father updated the fundraising page writing: “(NAME) mum is now on her way back to the UK, she has spent as much time as she possibly could helping to get things moving in the right direction.”

Radha Stirling, founder and director of Detained in Dubai, said the woman could be stuck in Dubai for as long as six months even if she was found innocent.

“There is a huge backlog in the system,” she said. “If she wins the first stage, the prosecution can appeal and they often do … So by the time she is found innocent, by the time she gets her passport returned, we can be talking at least six months.”

 

Stirling said the UAE was not a safe place for women to report allegations of rape. “Sex outside marriage is a crime there and, therefore, if a rape allegation is made and can’t be proved to be rape then it’s almost automatic that the person is charged with voluntary sex outside marriage,” she said.

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