Dutch Woman Sentenced for 'Adultery' After She Reported Being Raped in Qatar

A 22-year-old Dutch woman reported being raped while on vacation in Doha, Qatar—only to be imprisoned herself by the local authorities.

ABC News reports that the woman, known as Laura, has been detained in Qatar for more than three months while Doha authorities and the Dutch embassy there debated her case. They ultimately decided she would pay a small fine and serve a one-year suspended sentence in which she will be deported almost immediately. On the bright side, Laura will be able to return to the Netherlands soon.

Laura’s lawyer, Brian Lokollo, told CNN that the victim believes that someone "messed with her drink" while she hung around the hotel bar with a friend. She awoke later on to find her clothes torn apart, in an unfamiliar location with an unfamiliar man. When Laura reported the rape to law enforcement, she was immediately detained for adultery and intoxication outside of a permitted location. Apparently, "fornication outside of marriage," regardless of marital status, is a severe crime in Qatar, where Sharia law is strictly practiced and obeyed. Her small fine and deportation are actually lax punishments, compared to what most Muslim women would have suffered. 

"Had she been a Muslim woman, she would have received at least five years in jail. No one can get out of such charges here in Qatar," said a court official to Al Jazeera.

The official also revealed that the male offender was from Syria. He received a sentence of 100 lashes for illegal sexual acts and an additional 40 lashes for public drunkenness. Al Jazeera also claimed that the man would be deported.

"The Dutch government and embassy are in close contact with the defendant and her family in the Netherlands," said Daphne Kerremans, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "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." 

Vacationers and FIFA World Cup fans alike, beware: the World Cup 2022 is set to be held in Qatar and will most definitely attract a slew of tourists. Not knowing how strict the laws there are, or how little Qatar's women's rights have come, could lead to some pretty dangerous and inescapable situations.