x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Woman accused of prostitution in UAE pleads ignorance on grounds she is a ‘peasant’

A woman who was sentenced in absentia on charges of prostitution presented herself to the court for a retrial.

ABU DHABI // A woman accused of prostitution argued at the Abu Dhabi criminal court that she is a “peasant and does not know these things”.

SA, from Egypt, was caught on film entering hotel rooms for prostitution purposes, prosecutors said. However, she was never arrested. The criminal court earlier sentenced her in absentia to three years in prison and deportation.

The woman turned herself in to the court and presented an objection to the verdict. Anyone sentenced in absentia has that right and is granted a retrial.

SA told the court that she came to the UAE to look for a job. She said she met another woman at a cafe who later became her roommate. She said the roommate had twisted ways and was herself involved in prostitution.

The chief justice, Sayed Abdul Baseer, asked the woman: “You look for jobs in coffee shops?”

The woman replied:‎”I came to the country to look for a job, and I’m a peasant. I don’t know any of the things you say I did.”

The judge said: “They have you on video, do you want us to play the CD?”

The woman said the video that shows her in the hotel was taken during a birthday party.

The judge argued that if she were so innocent why was she drinking and laughing with strange men.

“I’m a tourist here. I have the right to go to hotels and drink and party,” the defendant said.

‎She added that she left the apartment she was sharing with the roommate after the woman’s cousin told her that “her path is not good”.

“I immediately left them and even left three weeks of rent.”

The judge challenged her.

“You say you are a peasant and so innocent and came looking for a job, then where did you get the money every time you bring a different lawyer with you? Or is it exchange of favours?”

The defendant said her cousin in Egypt sold her gold and sent SA cash.

The case was adjourned to watch the surveillance video in a private session.

hdajani@thenational.ae