Dutch Woman Allegedly Raped in Qatar Sentenced for Adultery but Allowed to Return Home

She was detained after reporting the attack but will now be allowed to go home.

ByABC News
June 13, 2016, 1:00 PM
The West Bay skyline of Doha, Qatar's capital city is pictured, Dec. 29, 2015, in Doha, Qatar.
The West Bay skyline of Doha, Qatar's capital city is pictured, Dec. 29, 2015, in Doha, Qatar.
Warren Little/Getty Images

— -- A Dutch woman who was allegedly raped while on vacation in Doha, Qatar, and then detained when she reported her attack was sentenced today for adultery but will be allowed to return to the Netherlands, Dutch authorities said.

"The Dutch ambassador to Qatar is with her right now," Daphne Kerremans, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told ABC News today. "We will help her to go home as soon as possible."

Kerremans told ABC News that the 22-year-old woman was detained for three months while Doha authorities investigated the case and that in the end she was given a one-year suspended sentence and fined but will be able to return home.

"She was sentenced for adultery and being drunk in public," Kerremans said, adding that the charges were the same for the man who allegedly assaulted her. "I think he got [a sentence of] 140 lashes."

"Our embassy has been involved since day one," Kerremans said, adding that "we are relieved" that she will be able to return to the Netherlands.

Brian Lokollo, a lawyer for the woman — who is being identified by Dutch authorities only by her first name, Laura — told The Associated Press that she was detained immediately after reporting the attack.

He told the AP that she believes someone "messed with her drink" while she was at her hotel bar and that she awoke later with her clothes torn, the victim of rape.

"The Dutch government and embassy are in close contact with the defendant and her family in the Netherlands," the Dutch Embassy in Qatar said in a statement. "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."

A court official told Qatar-based Al Jazeera, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the man was from Syria and that the one-year suspended sentence for the Dutchwoman was "lenient" compared with what a Muslim woman would have received.

The man has been sentenced to receive 100 lashes for illicit sex acts and an additional 40 lashes as punishment for public drunkenness and to be deported, Al Jazeera reported.

The Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doha and the Qatari Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

The case has sparked widespread outrage on social media and brought attention to the strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, practiced in Qatar.

Qatar is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is expected to draw thousands of foreign tourists to its capital, Doha. Many Western tourists may not know or understand the strict laws in place.