Two men aged 35 and 18 have been sentenced by a Dubai court to fifteen years in prison for raping a 15-year-old Western boy.
One of the men is HIV positive. A third man is being tried by a juvenile court on the same charges.
Alexander Robert, of French-Swiss nationality, was in the United Arab Emirates last summer when a group of men took him to a desert, threatened him with a knife and repeatedly raped him.
Speaking to the International Herald Tribune, the teenager said in October that after his family denounced the case, Emirati authorities tried to discourage them from pressing charges.
According to Alexander’s mother Veronique Robert, authorities neglected to inform them about the HIV status of one of the rapists in an attempt to hide that AIDS was present in the country.
“Aids is a taboo subject here. The government played with the life of my child,” she said in November.
Although HIV tests didn’t find any trace of HIV in his blood, a confirmation will only come after a test to be taken in January, at the end of the disease’s six-month incubation period.
A police doctor who visited Alexander after the rape also tried to insinuate that the teenager had consented the sexual assault and that he is gay, writing in his legal report that he had found no evidence of forced penetration.
The young man told International Herald Tribune that at those words he burst into tears.
“I’ve just been raped by three men, and he’s saying I’m a homosexual because my anus is distended,” he said to his father.
The victim’s mother said that the court’s decision was too light and a family attorney said they would appeal against it.
Mrs Robert also started a battle against the rich Arabic country and launched a website asking measures to acknowledge crimes of rape, which are not recognised under UAE law.
“The rape of a child cannot and must never remain an unpunished act. A state that lies, however rich, cannot and must never do so without encountering the consequences,” she wrote in her website boycottdubai.com.
In the small Arabic country, despite claims that it is the most modern and “Westernised” state in the region, homosexual relations are still considered a crime and punishments range from jail to deportation and death penalty.