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Press campaign forces UAE to back down on sex charges

"Ceding to international outrage over Dubai's criminal case against an alleged gang-rape victim for having engaged in extramarital sex, authorities have dropped the charges and dismissed the case. This is not the first time that charges have been dropped because of international media. The UAE must be trying to improve their reputation as a progressive and modern country. The problem is, they are not actually addressing and repairing the core issues. They are simply hoping that most civil justice violations are not made public.

While, of course, we are relieved that the British national, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by two compatriots in Dubai, has been freed; it is impossible to ignore the fact that this decision was taken as a direct result of intensive media condemnation, and not because the legal system in Dubai performed a proper investigation into the allegations.

Had the international outcry not been so overwhelming, there is little doubt that the woman would still be facing charges; like so many others wrongfully prosecuted in the United Arab Emirates.

The international community cannot be on hand in every instance to compensate for the grave flaws in the UAE legal system. It is unacceptable that the only semi-reliable safeguard to prevent wrongful prosecution and punishment in the Emirates is the intervention of world opinion.

It should be stated, as well, that we cannot say justice has been done in this case simply because the alleged victim will not face criminal punishment, which should never have been threatened to begin with."

Radha Stirling +44 7050 686 745 Skype: Radha.Stirling Twitter: @radhastirling Facebook: RadhaStirling

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