Qatar detains Dutch woman on adultery charges after filing rape complaint

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A Dutch woman who reported being raped during her holiday in Qatar has been held by the country’s authorities on suspicion of adultery since March. Dozens of people on social media have condemned the arrest and called for the woman’s release.

“She was arrested in March on suspicion of adultery, which means having sex outside marriage,” lawyer Brian Lokollo told AFP on Saturday.

The 22-year-old woman, identified as just ‘Laura’ by Dutch media, said that she was drugged prior to being raped and reported having “realized to her great horror” that she had been taken advantage of after she woke up in an unfamiliar flat.

The woman went dancing at a hotel in Doha and when she returned to her table she realized she had been drugged as “after the first sip of her drink... she felt very unwell,” Lokollo told Dutch broadcaster NOS-Radio1.

According to Lokollo, the woman was able to flee the flat and then went to a police station to file a complaint. However, the police refused to let her go.

Dutch foreign ministry spokeswoman Daphne Kerremans confirmed that the woman remains in custody but said she has not yet been charged. “The inquiry is ongoing,” she said.

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“We have provided assistance to her since the first day of detention. For the sake of the defendant's case we will not make further comments at this point,” the Dutch embassy said in a statement to Doha News.

“It is totally inhuman,” the woman's mother, Marian, told Dutch television NOS saying it was the first time her daughter had been on holiday without her.

The suspected assailant is also in custody. He, however, denied all charges saying the sex was consensual and claimed that the woman had even asked him for money.

“She completely denies these accusations,” Lokollo said.

“She and her mother have also been pressured to have her marry her attacker,” he added.

Meanwhile, dozens of people took to Twitter and called for Laura’s release under the hashtag #FreeLaura.

The woman's hearing is scheduled for Monday.