A reminder. Three Emiratis, one HIV & hepatitis positive, were charged with 'having forceful sex' with a 15 year old French schoolboy. That's the way homosexual rape is described by our law.
It has been not only all over the internet, the boy's mother started a website called boycottdubai.com, but in the mainstream media as well - if you google you'll see the extent of it. There's a lot of highly critical stuff, very damaging to Dubai's reputation in major international media.
The expectation in many quarters seemed to be that justice would not be served in the case.
To the surprise of the sceptics the two adult men (the third is appearing in a juvenile court) were each given 15 year sentences.
A Dubai Government spokesman said the sentence was in accordance with the practice in most countries in respect to similar crimes.
The defence lawyer at one stage said that as the boy had not developed HIV it proved his client was not guilty. That quite rightly attracted a huge amount of derision.
On that laughable suggestion an Appeal Court judge is quoted today as saying:
"Although the victim's results came back negative, this has nothing to do with the crime, charges, litigation and court proceedings".
The convicted rapists appealed, but yesterday the Court of Appeal upheld the initial ruling.
The court also upheld the referral to Dubai Civil Court of the victim's Dh15 million compensation claim.
Of course, the appeal will now be taken to the highest court. Let's hope they show the same good judgement as the earlier courts.
Change of sentiment
I don't know how long the mother's website will be accessible, because on it she has posted:
I am pleased to be able to tell you, all around the world, that Dubai is committed to the enforcement of its rule of law in a fair and just manner...
...I consider my demands for positive redress of the situation, to the UAE, have been met. I have therefore withdrawn the civil cases filed in Dubai, Paris and Geneva respectively.
For all these reasons, I will now close down this website which was established to raise the public and media attention of this case.
I don't suppose for one moment that the international media will pick up on that.
So, things are moving in the right direction.
We have a new Minister of Justice too. Maybe he will look at other laws that are getting us a bad press internationally - those relating to drugs.
The question of people with over-the-counter drugs being so harshly treated, the jailing of people who took (even prescription) drugs outside the UAE, the jailing of people with the tiniest microscopic speck of a drug on their clothing - the laws and their implementation need to be looked at.
References you may be interested to read:
And in relation to the drug laws that I think need urgent attention: