A 22-year-old Dutch woman has been arrested in Doha after she reported that she had been raped, it was reported on Saturday.
The woman, who was arrested on March 14, faces charges of having an extramarital affair and an alcohol-related offence, news website Doha News cited the Dutch foreign affairs ministry as saying.
“She was arrested in March on suspicion of adultery, which means having sex outside marriage,” her lawyer Brian Lokollo told Dutch radio station NOS-Radio1.
However, the accused – named as Laura – has alleged that she was drugged in a hotel and later raped.
“She went dancing but when she returned to the table after the first sip of her drink, she realised that [she had been drugged]. She felt very unwell,” Lokollo said.
The woman later woke up in an unfamiliar apartment “and realised to her great horror, that she had been raped,” he said.
While the suspected rapist was also arrested, he claimed that the sex had been consensual.
“She completely denies these accusations,” Lokollo said.
A court hearing has been scheduled for Monday.
The Netherlands embassy in Qatar said: “The Dutch government and embassy are in close contact with the defendant and her family in the Netherlands.
“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.”
Her case has been trending on social media, with several people using the hashtag #FreeLaura to call for her release.
By blaming women for being raped you're essentially taking part of the blame away from the rapist and putting it on the victim #FreeLaura
— Anood Al-Thani (@Al_Anood) June 11, 2016
Charging a woman *because she was raped* is a new low! Our justice system should be protecting victims, not arresting them! #FreeLaura
— Asma (@Asma_AlJehani) June 11, 2016
The Gulf countries have tough laws when it comes to ‘adultery’.
In 2013, a 24-year-old Norwegian woman was imprisoned for 16 months in the United Arab Emirates for indecent behaviour, perjury and alcohol consumption after she accused her boss of raping her.
She was later pardoned and allowed to return to Norway.