Man acquitted of attempted sex assault on 13-year-old boy at Dubai Mall

Emirati was accused of luring boy from games area of mall to his car, where the attempted attack was said to have taken place.

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DUBAI // A jobless man who was found guilty of an attempted sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy in his car after he gave him money to play games at The Dubai Mall has been acquitted on appeal on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old Emirati was said to have spotted the Algerian boy on May 1 last year at a games area trying to recharge his swipe card but the boy did not have enough money.

The boy told police that the defendant gave him money and then sat next to him as he waited for his mother and aunt.

He said the Emirati invited him to see his car before locking the doors and asking if he could massage the boy’s back.

“I said no, so he dragged me to the back seat, injuring my hand in the process. I was so scared,” said the boy.

As the man started massaging his back, the boy said, his own phone rang and he managed to unlock the door and jump out. “I answered and said ‘mama, mama’ so he did not come after me,” the boy said.

His 50-year-old mother said: “I left him at The Dubai Mall’s playground but called him several times and he did not pick up until that minute, when he screamed ‘mama, mama’, and when I saw him he was sweating and breathing heavily.”

She said her son told her he was about to get raped. She reported the incident to police, who identified the attacker through his car’s number plate from CCTV footage.

Police said the Emirati has a record of similar offences but, at Dubai Criminal Court in February, the man said: “I am a married man, I swear in the name of Allah that I never committed the crime.”

He denied an attempted sexual assault charge but was jailed for one year.

However, on Wednesday, Dubai Court of Appeal found him not guilty, though no explanation was given.

tzriqat@thenational.ae