Qatar to deport Dutch woman after ‘Illicit Sex’ conviction

A Dutch woman, known as “Laura”, will be deported from Qatar to the Netherlands following her allegation of rape against a Syrian identified as Omar Abdullah Al-Hasan.

Aged 22, Laura said she was drugged at a party in the W Doha Hotel in March and woke up in an unfamiliar apartment where she realised she had been sexually assaulted.

She was holidaying at the time, and reported the incident to the police. She was arrested on 14th March and had been held by the Qatari authorities on charges of committing illicit sex acts since then.

She was today convicted of having sex out of wedlock by a Qatari court, given a one year suspended sentence and ordered to be deported once the ruling was formalised which is expected to happen within the next few days.

Her attacker, Al-Hasan, was ordered to receive 100 lashes for illicit sex acts and another 40 for public drunkenness and will then be deported back to Syria.

Al-Hasan had admitted having sex with Laura, but said it was entirely consensual.

One court official had described the sentence as being lenient, saying that, ”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.”

The case has raised concerns about how the Qatari authorities will deal with the many tourists expected to stay in the country for the 2022 Fifa World Cup many of whom will be unfamiliar with, and may fall foul of, its conservative laws.

Key facts

  • Qatar is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the South with the remainder of it’s territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf where it shares sea borders with Bahrain, Iran and the UAE.
  • It has the highest income per capita, and the third largest oil and gas reserves in the world.
  • It supported several rebel groups during the Arab Spring financially and through its Al Jazeera media network
  • As a Muslim country, the Qatar legal system is a mix of Sharia and Civil law.
  • Alcohol consumption is allowed in some parts of Qatar and non-Muslim immigrants can obtain a permit to purchase alcohol.
  • Flogging and stoning are legal punishments in Qatar, with the punishment for adultery being 100 lashes.