Soldier acquitted of rape following special pardon

The man had been appealing a three year jail semtence when the pardon was issued

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A 22-year-old soldier who was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail for raping an Ethiopian woman has been pardoned.

In April last year, the Emirati soldier denied a rape charge and told Dubai Criminal Court that the woman was his girlfriend and they often had consensual sex. His co-accused, an inspector, 20, denied a charge of attempted rape and was found not guilty.

Prosecutors said that the incident happened on November 29 last year in Naif.

The 22-year-old jobless woman told investigators that she had been invited to dinner by the soldier. Just before 10pm on the day of the incident, he picked her up and drove to a deserted area. Only when he had stopped the car, she said, did she noticed the man's friend was in the back seat.

"His friend stepped out of the car then he (the soldier) locked the doors and jumped on top of me. He punched me in the stomach and threatened to cut my throat and throw my dead body in the desert," the woman told prosecutors.

She added that the man overpowered her, raping her for about ten minutes before getting out of the car and inviting his friend to also have sex with her.

"When he (the friend) got into the car, I begged him and cried and pleaded that if he had any sisters, to think of them and not touch me. So he stopped and got out of the car," the woman said.

The two then drove her back to her neighbourhood, where the woman said she saw a police patrol and told them about what happened. The police chased the car and apprehended the two men.

A 36-year-old policeman testified that he and his colleague where patrolling when they saw the victim getting out of a black Toyota Camry at around 5am. "She was crying so I asked her what was wrong. She pointed at the Camry and said something bad happened," said the officer.

The medical report stated that traces of the soldier's DNA were found on the woman's body; however, the report could not confirm whether the sex had occurred through the use of force as no signs of force were found on the woman's body.

Dubai Criminal Court convicted the soldier of rape and sentenced him to three years in jail, but acquitted the friend.

On Wednesday morning, the Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal and the judge announced that the appeal petition had been dropped as a special pardon had been issued.