Consulate counters rape claim

Official says Filipina denies her mother's TV accusations that she was raped while in custody at a Dubai police station.

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DUBAI // A Philippines consulate official has dismissed a report that a Filipina was raped while in custody at Al Muraqqabat police station in Dubai.

In an interview on a local Philippine television station on Tuesday, the mother of the 23-year-old woman said her daughter complained that she is being abused every night while in prison, where she has been held since December.

However, Geronimo Suliguin, vice-consul at the Philippine consulate in Dubai, said yesterday: "I visited the woman to check on her condition. She categorically denied it and said that she's being treated well."

The Filipina, whom the consulate declined to identify, was able to speak to her sister in Manila on the telephone yesterday. "She told her sister that what has been reported isn't true," Mr Suliguin said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila said in a statement that consulate representatives in Dubai had earlier visited the woman in jail, where she recounted her ordeal.

A report sent by the consulate to the DFA stated that she was being held at Al Muraqqabat station for "alleged immorality offences".

The woman alleged that an Iranian she met at a party offered her a ride in his car to another party. When they reached the venue, there was no one there and he raped her. A Pakistani posing as a policeman arrived and asked for her identification papers. She was asked to enter a bathroom, where she was raped for a second time.

Her money, telephone and camera were taken from her, and she was told that she could recover them from Al Muraqqabat police station. Police took her into custody on immorality charges when she arrived at the station.

The Pakistani is in jail on rape charges, while the Iranian suspect is being sought by authorities, according to the report.

The consulate is co-ordinating with the police authorities on the case, said Mr Suliguin. "We will extend all assistance to secure the immediate resolution of her case," he added.

However, Nhel Morona, the secretary-general of the UAE branch of Migrante, a Filipino migrant rights group, said: "We challenge the consulate to conduct a more thorough investigation.

"They should assure us that there won't be any whitewash. She should be released. After all, she came to the police station as a complainant."