An Emirati man, convicted of raping a woman, managed to win reduced punishment of a suspended jail term from a U.A.E. appeals court after claiming she was his wife.
The 28-year-old defendant, a police officer who worked for Dubai International Airport, was arrested last year after the woman, then his fiancée, reported him for rape. She accused him of forcing himself on her while she was in his car.
The man was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail, but appealed against the ruling, arguing that the attack was not a crime because they were legally married.
The defendant's lawyer, Eisa bin Hayder, claimed the marriage between the two was declared amongst the families according to Islam.
“My client took his family with him and proposed to her. She and her father accepted, then it was declared among both families and friends. This is a valid marriage. My client is innocent, he did not rape her but had marital sex,” said Bin Hayder.
But, in her initial testimony, the woman stated the man forced himself on her.
“He jumped on to my seat, removed my clothes and raped me,” she had said, adding, “I was screaming. He told me I could ‘scream but no one would hear’ me.”
Later, while both of them reconciled, the woman still maintained they were not married at the time of the incident.
“Yes, we got married, but when it happened, I was still his fiancée – not his wife. However, we reconciled and it’s all well now,” she told a judge.
The man already received a rather lenient sentence of six months for the crime. The punishment has further been suspended, The National reported.
Rape is a punishable offense in the U.A.E. but reporting the crime more often than not puts women at risk of being arrested and charged for illicit sex. The victims are forced to prove that sex was nonconsensual.
Marital rape is further complicated since Muslim majority countries mostly do not regard nonconsensual sex between spouses as a crime.
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