Qatar to deport raped Dutch woman on charges of "illicit sex"

(Representative image)View of the skyline of the West Bay area in Doha is taken on January 4, 2011 in Doha, Qatar Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Doha Jun 13, 2016, 11.43 AM (IST)
A Dutch woman who was arrested in March after she told police she had been drugged and raped was convicted of having sex out of wedlock by a Qatari court today given a one-year suspended sentence, state-owned Al Jazeera reported.

The woman, 22, will be deported to the Netherlands in the coming days once the ruling is formalised, the Dutch ambassador to Qatar Yvette Burghgraef-van Eechoud told the network.

The man she said raped her, a Syrian identified in court as Omar Abdullah Al-Hasan, pleaded guilty to charges of illicit consensual sex and being drunk in a public and was sentenced to 140 lashes, Al Jazeera quoted a court official as saying.

Islamic-based legal codes govern Qatar, which will host the World Cup in 2022 and faces questions on how it will cope with the influx of many fans who drink alcohol at soccer tournaments and may expect lenient Western-style rules.

The Dutch woman says she was drugged at a nightclub in a central Doha hotel and realised she had been raped when she woke up in an unfamiliar apartment.

"Her next memory was waking up in an unfamiliar apartment where she realised to her great horror that she had been raped," her lawyer, Brian Lokollo, told Dutch radio NOS-Radio 1.

She had been on vacation at the time, and reported the incident to Qatari police. She was arrested on March 14, and had been held since then on unclear charges.

Hasan has acknowledged having sex with the woman, but said it had been consensual, according to Dutch media reports.

Since the case emerged this week, hundreds of sympathisers on Twitter have called for her release and criticised the Qatari reaction to her allegations.

It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public in Qatar, although alcohol is allowed at certain hotels and non-Muslim immigrants can obtain a permit for purchasing alcohol.