x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Woman who reported rape is charged with illegal sex

An 18-year-old Emirati woman has been charged with having sex outside of wedlock after she told police that she was raped by six men.

ABU DHABI // An 18-year-old Emirati woman has been charged with having sex outside of wedlock after reporting that she was raped by six men, Abu Dhabi's Criminal Court was told yesterday. The men, only two of whom were in court yesterday, are charged with raping LH in the back seat of one of the defendant's vehicles. Both men pleaded not guilty, while L H, who has been taken into custody, also pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.

The woman and one of her male Emirati friends, HA, went for a drive in his vehicle on May 2, prosecutors said. The charges allege that because she had agreed to be in the car, the two had, therefore, met to have sex. According to court records, HA, 19, called five of his friends - four Emiratis and one Iraqi - and invited them to join him. Prosecutors said that after HA and the woman had sex in an unknown location in Abu Dhabi, the five men met up with them. At that point, the charges say, the men all raped her in HA's car.

The woman later contacted police and said she had been raped by six men, including HA. It is not known when she reported the attack. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department Forensic Unit declined to discuss whether the woman had been examined after the incident for evidence of rape. HA has been charged with rape. The only other defendant in court, an Emirati with the same initials, was also charged with rape. The other four men are being tried in their absence.

The woman has been in custody since she reported the incident. She and the two defendants in court yesterday are being held without bail. Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Basser twice asked her: "Did you have sex with these men?" "No," she replied. It was unclear whether the judge was referring to consensual sex or rape. The woman was not represented by a lawyer and no members of her family were in court yesterday.

All of the defendants are older than 18 and are being tried as adults. myoussef@thenational.ae hhassan@thenational.ae