Treat us as boys, youths who raped child ask Abu Dhabi court

Lawyers for eight boys jailed for gang raping another child ask Appeals Court to base trial on juvenile law - not Sharia.

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ABU DHABI // Lawyers for eight youths jailed over the gang rape of a boy have asked for their appeal to be based on juvenile law and not Sharia.

The youths, who were jailed for between two to three years, were all boys at the time of the rape, and were treated as juveniles in their original trial.

However, some have since turned 18, or undergone puberty, which would mean they could be tried as adults under Sharia.

Under Sharia, adults who practice a homosexual act, and confess four times, are sentenced to death.

In an earlier hearing, all eight denied rape. However, one of them, the Emirati FM, admitted having sex with the boy, but told the judge this was with his consent.

"He [FM] has a moustache and a thick voice, he appears to have hit puberty," noted Chief Justice Dr Khairi Al Kabbash yesterday.

The youth's lawyer argued that when the intercourse took place between the two young men more than six months ago, his client was still a child.

He then asked for the trial to be based on juvenile law, rather than Sharia. A verdict is expected on October 17.