A Dubai court on Wednesday sentenced two men from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to 15 years in jail for raping a French-Swiss teenager. A lawyer for the victim's family said they would appeal against the sentence, which the mother considered too lenient.
The trial of the two Emirati nationals, aged 18 and 36, opened on October 24. The older of the two defendants is HIV positive, according to legal sources, cited by AFP. Neither of the defendants nor the underage victim, who now lives in Europe, were present in the courtroom when the three-judge panel read the sentences.
"Justice was done," said Veronique Robert, the victim's mother, speaking to The Associated Press after the verdict was read in Dubai's Court of First Instance. However, she added: "Fifteen years is nothing for someone who knew he had AIDS." She also accused Dubai authorities of lacking sensitivity, saying they accused her son of homosexual behavior and fabricating the attack. "I respect their justice system and I have no other comment to make before speaking to my lawyer."
A juvenile court in Dubai is trying a third suspect in the same case. His trial is set to resume on December 25.
The accused were charged with having offered the victim and another French boy a lift from a Dubai mall on July 14, before driving into the desert where the teenager was raped while being threatened with a knife and billiard cue.
Defense lawyers claimed the 15-year-old European had consented to sex and that he had lied to the authorities. The sex act was "in consent and not forced" on the teenager, they said.