x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Woman in rape trial flies from Lebanon to give evidence

The distressed lady flies down to testify against Omani accused but appeals for a closed hearing from the court.

DUBAI // A woman who said she was abducted outside a hotel, raped and left on a roadside flew from Lebanon to give evidence yesterday against the man accused of attacking her.  AA, 26, from Oman, denies abducting the Lebanese woman, 34, from in front of the Towers Rotana Hotel on Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road on July 19, 2008. 

Yesterday, the woman stood before Presiding Judge Hamad Abdel Latif, of the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. Visibly distressed, she asked the court to hold a closed hearing to answer questions about the incident. Judge Abdel Latif agreed and heard her evidence in private, in the presence of AA and his defence lawyer. According to public prosecution records, the woman said she was contacted by the man two days before the incident.

On the day of the alleged kidnap and rape, she went to the hotel, found it overcrowded and decided to leave. AA called and asked her to meet for coffee, and she agreed. "He called me again while I was in the hotel's coffee shop. I agreed to join him in his car," she told prosecutors. AA picked her up in a BMW and drove towards Ras al Khaimah. She said she became fearful after he locked the car and drove past a signboard that signalled their arrival in RAK.

"He refused to drop me at my car, which was parked close to the hotel. He pulled my hair and assaulted me when I tried to open the door and get out. "He told me to shut up when I asked him about his destination. Suddenly, he drove off the main road to a deserted spot. He stopped and pulled me out the car, then undressed and raped me," she said.    The woman said she was repeatedly raped, sexually assaulted and attacked with a wooden stick before AA fled, leaving her on the side of the road. 

A police captain, who recorded the woman's statement, said she reported that AA beat her head and whipped her with a stick.  "She alleges he assaulted her with a stick. The suspect left her and escaped after he spotted a car approaching them," he said. Forensic doctors confirmed that the woman was bruised on various parts of her body. Police arrested AA after they reviewed CCTV footage from the hotel and tracked down his vehicle.

AA told prosecutors he met the woman in a coffee shop and flirted with her before they exchanged phone numbers. He denies raping her and claims he only touched her thighs in the car, adding she had joined him willingly in the vehicle.  The court adjourned until October 18 to hear closing arguments. @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae