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Was the alleged rape victim's story a case of false allegations, as the UAE media office has rep

After a week of relentless press and international focus, the UAE media office issued a press release to say that they determine the alleged rape was in fact, consensual sex.

The facts of this case are that a woman reported to the police that she was raped by two men. She was then held in Dubai on charges of sex outside marriage. The UAE government allegedly determined that the sex was consensual based on their analysis of some video footage, video footage that the alleged victim was aware existed at the time of reporting the rape. Both parties reportedly believed that the video footage would back up their respective stories.

Previous rape case where victim was criminalised

On the one hand, it is important to understand that the UAE judicial system has previously lead to wrongful convictions of victims of crime and without the media coverage this case attracted, the parties would all likely have been convicted, whether or not her allegations of rape were true.

On the other hand, the same flaws can leave parties able to make false allegations that are taken seriously, although in cases of date rape, such allegations have been difficult or impossible to prove, leading to false convictions for extramarital sex.

Date rape in particular, is difficult to prove in any jurisdiction and that is why it is largely unreported. It is also a reason that innocent men are often subjected to unfair allegations and investigations. The law generally though, leans in favour of the accused assailants because most cases of date rape, lack crucial evidence to secure a conviction and the case comes down to "her/his word against mine/ours".

Our advice to people who wish to report crime in the UAE is not a blanket "no", rather that it is an individual choice, that carries potentially serious consequences, including imprisonment. A case of date rape with limited evidence will be construed as a confession to extramarital sex. We also advise people to avoid being alone with members of the opposite sex in the UAE as this is itself, can lead to arrest. Alcohol consumption should also be limited as many legal problems and arrests stem from alcohol infused actions.

In this case, no one will know whether justice has been done and we expect that the press will cover the version of stories after their full release. However, the world should not take a press release from the UAE government, to be factual and conclusive.

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