x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Taxi driver sexually assaulted 13-year-old boy, prosecutors say

A taxi driver tried to force his tongue into the mouth of a 13-year-old boy whom he had just dropped home from school, prosecutors said.

DUBAI // A taxi driver sexually assaulted a ninth-grade boy as he was dropping him home after school, prosecutors told the court today.

The driver kissed the 13-year-old British student on the cheeks, chin and lips, then attempted to force his tongue into the boy's mouth, prosecutors said.

The defendant, SF, 26, of Pakistan, denied the charge today before presiding Judge Hamad Abdel Latif at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

"I did not even touch the boy, your honour," SF said through a translator.

However, the boy said in his statement to prosecutors that the taxi driver picked him up at 3pm on September 20 from his school in Jumeirah, to drop him off at his home near the Burj Khalifa.

"When I got in, he pulled me close to him and started talking to me but I did not pay attention," the boy said in his statement. "When we arrived to my building, he told me that in his country, friends kiss on the cheeks when they say goodbye. He then said that family members kiss on the chin, and he kissed me. Then he said that close friends kiss on the lips, and he kissed me on my lips, and then he tried to force his tongue into my mouth.

"I pulled back, and then he told me to take his number and call him whenever I would need a taxi," the boy said.

When the boy exited the taxi, he took a picture of its number plate, and informed a family friend.

The boy's father told prosecutors that he usually took his son to school and picked him up at 3pm every day.

"On that day, I called him and told him that I will be in a meeting at 3.45, and so he should take a cab home," the boy's father said in his statement to prosecutors. "I received a call then from my friend who told me what has happened, and I rushed back to call police."

The defendant appeared in court without a lawyer.

The crime of sexual assault on anyone under the age of 14 is considered rape under UAE law. Because of this, the court was required to adjourn the hearing to present the defendant with a court-appointed lawyer.

The court will hear the case again next month.


amustafa@thenational.ae