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A UK-based charity has warned that British tourists and expats in Dubai and across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should not report incidents of rape after a woman who was allegedly gang raped was arrested and charged with “extramarital sex”.
Detained in Dubai, an organisation that assists people who have become victims of injustice in the UAE, has warned against reporting rape or other crimes in the country because of the “manipulation when it comes to criminal accusations” and the “racist” preconceptions held against Western tourists.
Radha Stirling, founder of the charity, said that following the recent case – as well as a number of other shocking incidents in recent years where rape victims have been detained in the UAE – she advises British tourists not to report crime.
Detained in Dubai and confirmed that she is still in Dubai facing awaiting the proceedings and is “very afraid of facing the complexities of the UAE justice system”.Her lawyer has reportedly estimated fees to be in the vicinity of £25,000.A petition set up by the woman's mother, Sue Barber – who writes that she is “going out of her mind with worry” – has so far raised more than £11,000 to go towards defence lawyers.Speaking of the case, Ms Stirling warned that “It is quite possible she’ll be charged and held.If the assailants have left the country the police have obviously got no counter evidence.
They could just factually go on sex outside of marriage if there is no evidence of an assault.” In its “Support for British nationals abroad” guide, the FCO offers support for victims of rape and sexual assault overseas, stating: “We take any report of rape and sexual assault seriously and will try to see you to offer you support as soon as possible and in private.” The guide then states that the FCO can tell the victim about “local police and legal procedures” and provide them with “a list of local lawyers and interpreters”, but then states that it is down to the victim to decide whether or not they should report the crime, adding: “Only you can decide whether or not to report the crime to the police or take legal action – we cannot make this decision for you”.