Footballer convinces court he didn’t rape woman

Court modifies rape charge to having consensual sex and hands defendant one-year jail term

Dubai: A footballer will spend a year in jail after a court modified the rape charge against him and convicted him of having consensual sex with a woman at a luxurious hotel.

The Emirati footballer had rejected the 36-year-old Lebanese woman’s claims that he had raped her after a dinner invite at the hotel in Palm Jumeirah in March.

On Thursday, the Dubai Court of First Instance modified the charge from rape to consensual sex and handed the defendant one year in jail.

Pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing before the court, the Emirati denied raping the Lebanese woman friend after dinner.

In the absence of the defendant, who didn’t attend Thursday’s hearing, presiding judge Urfan Omar modified the rape accusation to consensual sex after the footballer’s lawyer, Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi, argued that the woman’s allegations were absolutely not true or factual.

“Her statement before the police clearly contradicted her statement before prosecutors. She distorted and twisted all facts and even lied about what had actually happened during the incident … she was not raped but they had consensual sex,” Al Shamsi contended before presiding judge Omar.

The Lebanese had claimed that the defendant booked two separate rooms at the hotel, but check-in records proved that only one room had been booked, contended the lawyer.

“She allegedly told police that on the night when the incident happened, she wore a sleeping dress … but when she testified in court, she contradicted herself and said she wore a swimsuit. The woman also alleged earlier that my client had consumed alcohol with her. But the suspect’s results came negative when he was tested for alcohol.

“She had willingly agreed to spend the night with him in the same room. The forensic examination report disproved her claim that the suspect had used physical violence with her as there were no bruises or injuries on her body,” Al Shamsi told the court.

The defendant’s friend testified in court that the Lebanese tried to blackmail the footballer and asked him for Dh250,000 to waive her complaint.

Challenging what he described by the claimant’s as “factually incorrect claims”, Al Shamsi said the woman alleged that the suspect had abnormal sex with her for two hours non-stop.

“However, the forensic examiner’s report confirmed that she had a normal intercourse. Based on all those unfounded claims and our defence argument, we ask the court to refer the case back to prosecutors to modify the charge from rape to having consensual sex, or acquit our client of rape,” defended the lawyer.

According to the case, the suspect called up the Lebanese woman and invited her and other friends to a dinner at the luxury hotel.

The footballer, who has played for several clubs and the national team, informed the Lebanese woman that he had made a room reservation for her to stay overnight.

The Emirati went up to the room, they sat at the balcony drinking and eating mixed nuts for some time and when the woman walked into the room, the man tried to flirt with her, but she rejected him.

When she persistently cut him off, said records, the suspect turned violent, pulled her by her hair, threw her on the bed and raped her.

Thursday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

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