Dutch woman jailed in Qatar after reporting rape may face charges

The woman has reportedly been in custody in Doha since mid-March.

Story highlights

  • The woman woke up in an unfamiliar location and realized she'd been raped
  • Police held her in custody after she reported it
  • A Norwegian woman was jailed in 2013 in the UAE in a similar case

Abu Dhabi (CNN)A Dutch woman who reported being raped while on holiday in Qatar has been jailed since mid-March and could face charges of adultery, according to her lawyer.

The 22-year-old woman, whom CNN has identified only as Laura, was at a hotel bar having drinks with a friend, but then had a drink that made her feel "very unwell," according to Brian Lokollo, a lawyer who was hired by the woman's family.
    She reportedly woke up in an unfamiliar location and realized "to her great horror" that she had been raped after her drink was spiked, Lokollo said.
    When she reported the rape to the police, she herself was imprisoned.
    "I don't know what the charges are. To my knowledge she is being held in custody because she reported that she was raped," Lokollo told CNN Sunday.

    Charges unknown

    According to Lokollo, she is due to appear before a judge in the Qatari capital Monday where the official charges will be heard for the first time.
    The Dutch government and its embassy in Doha are in close contact with the defendant and her family in the Netherlands, according to a statement from the embassy.
    "We have provided assistance to her since the first day of detention. For the sake of the defendant's case we will not make further comments at this point," the statement added.
    The Qatari authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.
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    Adultery a crime

    "Adultery," or "fornication outside of marriage," is a crime in Qatar as well as other countries in the conservative Muslim Gulf regardless of the marital status of those involved.
    According to Qatar's Penal Code 2004 (Law No. 11), "anyone who copulates with a female above sixteen without compulsion, duress or ruse is convicted to no more than seven years in prison. The same penalty is also imposed on the female for her consent."
    In the nearby United Arab Emirates in 2013, a Norwegian woman who reported being raped by a colleague was sentenced to 16 months in jail, charged for having unlawful sex, making a false statement and the illegal consumption of alcohol.
    Marte Deborah Dalelv was later pardoned by Dubai's ruler.