x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Steward cleared of rape charges

A Singapore Airlines crew member who was arrested in Abu Dhabi on allegations of rape is released.

ABU DHABI // A Singapore Airlines crew member who was arrested in Abu Dhabi on allegations that he raped a colleague in a hotel has been released and returned to Singapore. "Investigations by authorities in the UAE have concluded, and no charge in relation to the allegation was preferred against our crew member," Stephen Forshaw, the vice president of public affairs at Singapore Airlines, said in an e-mail.

He said the airline was pleased the case had been resolved, and both crew members had returned to Singapore. "Subsequent proceedings before the courts resulted in him being discharged and released from custody, and he has since returned to Singapore." Mr Forshaw declined to elaborate on the court proceedings and other details. "What factors were taken into consideration by the police, the prosecutor or the courts are not for me to comment on as they are matters for the Abu Dhabi authorities," he said. "It is not our intention or position to play the role of a commentator on matters of legal process."

Singapore's The Straits Times newspaper reported in September the victim was believed to be a "relatively new recruit" to the airline and the suspect held "a more senior and supervisory role". It cited a newspaper report published by Lianhe Wanbao, a Chinese daily in Singapore, that identified the victim as a flight attendant who had recently joined the airline and the accused as a married senior steward.

The newspaper said the victim alleged the accused went to her hotel room and forced himself on her. It said it was believed that a hotel worker let the suspect into the room. The victim filed a police complaint in Abu Dhabi after the alleged attack on Aug 30 and the accused was arrested and questioned by the police. Mr Forshaw confirmed in September that a Singapore Airlines cabin crew member had been detained in Abu Dhabi following allegations against him by another crew member.

He said the airline was providing assistance to both employees, included "facilitating legal representation for the accused, and supporting the welfare of the crew member who made the complaint to police". rruiz@thenational.ae