American naval officer allegedly groped by Dubai taxi driver

Young woman tells court of assault on journey from mall to Jebel Ali base

An American naval officer has said she was groped by a taxi driver while she was on leave in Dubai.

The 22-year-old operations specialist told Dubai Criminal Court the Egyptian man put his hand on her thigh then tried to make her touch his groin.

The incident took place on March 5 as the taxi driver, 34, took the woman home from Mall of the Emirates with two friends.

“It was almost 9pm when my friends and I left the mall and took a cab to head back to the base in Jebil Ali. The driver asked me to sit next to him to give him directions,” she said.

She said that on the way, the driver started chatting with her.

“He then placed his hand on my thigh, I removed it and he put it back again. I tried to go to the back seat but couldn’t,” she testified.

When they arrived at the main gate of the US base, she said he tried to put his hand under her shirt then pulled her arm by force and placed it on his private parts.

“I removed my arm then told the security guards, who kept hold of him until they called police,” she said.

When officers arrived, they found a representative from the American embassy who briefed them about the incident.

"When we talked to the accused, he denied everything and said that they were 'framing him' because he asked two of her friends to stop kissing in the taxi,” a Dubai Police officer, 48, testified.

The driver claimed that when he told them to stop kissing, they asked him what religion he was.

“They told me that I must be a Muslim, then insulted me and my religion,” he said.

In court on Wednesday, the driver denied a sex assault charge.

The next hearing will be on May 20.