Today a court in the United Arab Emirates decided that a 14-year-old girl will be tried for adultery later this month, even though the law says no one under 15 can be charged for sex crimes.
According to Gulf News, the girl was arrested on March 22 in Ajman for allegedly meeting with her 25-year-old boyfriend on the roof of her home. Her father says he had no idea what was going on when he and his daughter were summoned to the police station. He explains:
I learnt that someone had complained against her - that she was meeting an adult man on the roof of our building. I became angry with her and told the police that I would handle the matter within the family.
Instead, police arrested the girl and put her in a jail with adult women. She was also examined by a gynecologist who confirmed that she is a virgin.
The girl's boyfriend was also arrested. Her father says,
He is around 25-year-old and he used to follow my daughter wherever she went. Once I complained against him to police when I learnt that he was chasing her to her school bus.
The case has a few disturbing similarities to that of 14-year-old Hena Akter of Bangladesh, who died after she was raped by an uncle and sentenced to 101 lashes for adultery. Hena's father had also complained that the older man was harassing his underage daughter on her way to school.
According to an expert on United Arab Emirates law, the girl shouldn't have been charged in the first place:
The law states that the minimum age of suspects in crimes related to sex must be 15 years. Such cases should be conducted in special juvenile courts. Otherwise, suspects are considered victims rather than suspects.
Yet somehow, a minor who met with an older man and didn't even have sex with him is now standing trial for adultery.
Image via Anita Patterson Peppers/Shutterstock.