A police officer who was convicted of raping a woman, but denied it on the grounds that she was in fact his wife, has won the reduced punishment of a suspended prison term from the Dubai appeals court.
The 28-year-old Emirati defendant worked at Dubai International Airport at the time of the incident in March last year, and was arrested after his fiancee at the time reported him for rape. She said he had forced himself on her during a drive in his car.
He was convicted of raping the woman, an airline worker, and sentenced to six months in prison, but denied the crime in court. He argued that they were legally married and appealed against the ruling seeking and acquittal.
His defence lawyer, Eisa bin Hayder, argued that marriage in Islam consists of three elements – proposal, acceptance and declaration, and that all three elements had been met making his client's marriage to the woman valid.
"My client took his family with him and proposed to her. She and her father accepted, then it was declared among both families and friends. This is a valid marriage. My client is innocent, he did not rape her but had marital sex," said Bin Hayder.
A police officer said the two met in 2015 at the airport, became friends and he later told her he wanted to marry her.
In her testimony, the woman, whose age was not revealed in court, said she had previously been married and divorced. "He still wanted to marry me so I told my mother about him and she asked that he come to our home to propose officially," she said.
Prosecutors said that on the day of the crime, he picked her up in his car and they drove around for a time before he parked in a residential area between some villas.
"He jumped on to my seat, removed my clothes and raped me," she said in her original testimony given after incident.
"I was screaming. He told me I could 'scream but no one would hear' me."
She said he then drove her back to her car and she drove to a police station to tell police what had happened.
The woman later told judges that the couple had reconciled.
"Yes, we got married, but when it happened, I was still his fiancee – not his wife. However, we reconciled and it's all well now," she told a judge.
No reasons for the lenient six-month conviction were made available; however, the sentence suggests the charge had been amended by the court to having consensual extra-marital sex.
The Dubai Court of Appeal suspended the sentence. No reasons for the court’s decision were made available.