A British woman has been arrested and charged with 'extra-marital sex' after reporting that she was gang raped by two UK men in Dubai.
The Sun reports that her attackers have already flown home to England. While the victim is out on bail, she must attend court and could face a long jail term for breaking the United Arab Emirates' Sharia laws on sex, as it is illegal for couples in the Emirates to have sex outside of marriage.
A family friend of the woman told The Sun that she is 'terrified' and is not allowed to leave the country.
“They have taken her passport as lawyers thrash it out. She is staying with an English family but she is absolutely terrified.
“She went to the police as the victim as one of the worst ordeals imaginable but she is being treated as the criminal.”
This case is one of many similar stories in Dubai, according to Radha Stirling, founder and director of Detained in Dubai.
Stirling told The Independent, "Police regularly fail to differentiate between consensual intercourse and violent rape. Victims go to them expecting justice, and end up being prosecuted. They not only invalidate their victimisation, they actually punish them for it."
Under the UAE's sharia law, it is extremely difficult to convict someone of rape, as a confession from the rapist or witness statements from four adult men are required. This means that cases are often heavily skewed in the defendant's favour.
Stirling added that this made it unsafe for victims to report rape in the UAE, as they would suffer punishment themselves.
“The horrible case at hand shows that it is still not safe for victims to report these crimes to the police without the risk of suffering a double punishment.”