A 22-year-old Dutch woman detained for three months in Qatar on suspicion of adultery after she reported being drugged and raped was given a one-year suspended sentence on Monday and will be allowed to return home, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.
The woman, identified only as Laura and described as being from the Dutch city of Utrecht, was held and prosecuted on charges of adultery and alcohol consumption. She has been fined about 750 euros, or nearly $850, and will be sent back to the Netherlands, said Daphne Kerremans, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
“The ambassador is with her now and is making sure that she can go home as soon as possible,” Ms. Kerremans said. “It was quite overwhelming for her.”
Doha News, an internet news site in Qatar, reported that the ambassador to the Netherlands, Yvette Burghgraef van Eechoud, said outside the courtroom that the woman would be released from prison in coming days.
News reports said that the man Laura accused of sexually assaulting her had also been detained and that he had told the Qatari authorities that the sex was consensual.
The man, a Syrian citizen identified by Doha News in court papers as Omar Abdullah al-Hassan, was sentenced to 140 lashes for illegal sex acts and public drunkenness.
She felt unwell soon after taking the first sip of a drink and realized that something was wrong, he said. The next morning, she awoke in an unfamiliar apartment and realized that she had been raped.
After reporting the attack to the authorities in Qatar, Mr. Lokollo said, she was detained, according to The Associated Press.
The case captured global attention over the weekend after the woman’s family spoke in the Dutch news media about her arrest, and reports of the accusations and imprisonment she faced drew a campaign on social media calling for her release.
The decision by soccer organizers to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar brought increased scrutiny to the human rights record of the tiny, oil-rich nation, and the rape case added to those concerns.
Among the concerns of rights groups are the treatment of women and the labor conditions of migrant workers helping to build the infrastructure for the games.
The Dutch Embassy in Qatar said it had been helping the woman from the moment it learned of her arrest.
“We have provided assistance to her since the first day of detention,” it said in a statement issued before the verdict. “For the sake of the defendant’s case, we will not make further comments at this point.”
Although alcohol consumption is largely illegal in Qatar, a conservative Muslim country, it is legally available at some upmarket hotels. Adultery is also illegal.
In 2013, a Norwegian woman who was working in the United Arab Emirates received a 16-month prison sentence for illegal consumption of alcohol, unlawful sex and perjury after reporting to the police that she had been sexually assaulted by a colleague. She was eventually pardoned and allowed to leave the country to return home.
(via NY Times)