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Brisbane woman raped then jailed for sex in United Arab Emirates
By Leanne Edmistone
June 19, 2009 10:02am
A BRISBANE woman was jailed for eight months in the United Arab Emirates for claiming she was raped by three men after her drink was spiked in a hotel bar.
The woman, identified only as Amanda, said she ordered one drink from the bar in the United Arab Emirates hotel she was staying, but then remembered nothing until waking up the next afternoon.
Amanda, interviewed on ABC radio this morning, said she was arrested after reporting her rape to police and later sentenced to 11 months' jail for having illicit sexual relations and one month for consumption of alcohol.
"I don't remember anything except for having that drink ... in one way that's a good thing but from what happened following, it's still an extremely traumatising,'' she said.
She was released five months ago after securing a royal pardon after serving eight months, and is now home in Australia.
She said the jails were overcrowded, inmates were often beaten and the water was frequently turned off.
Amanda said she had extensively researched the customs of the largely Muslim country before living there, but was not aware of the laws surrounding women and sex and drinking.
"It was such a glamorous lifestyle and at the moment there are so many Australians working over there,'' she said.
"It is a very glamourous lifestyle and you can make a lot of money but unfortunately there's the other side that people just aren't aware of.''
She said four high-ranking muslim men had to witness penetration to prove a rape charge, so women who reported rapes were typically seen as confessing to illicit sexual relations or prostitution.
"I can move on, and I'm working on that, part of my process is to help other people with awareness of what's going on and making changes,'' she said.
Amanda met with several state MPs this week to tell her story.
Amnesty International's Michael Hayworth said he sent a letter to United Arab Emirates officials, asking them to comply with United Nation's Women's Rights Conventions and remove discriminatory laws.