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Tue 7 Jun 2011 06:05 PM

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Australian woman wins right to sue over UAE rape case

Alicia Gali wins leave to sue her own government for failing to warn her she risked jail by reporting assault

Australian woman wins right to sue over UAE rape case
Alicia Gali won the right to take Australian diplomats to court for failing to give her adequate advice
Australian woman wins right to sue over UAE rape case
Le Méridien Al Aqah

An Australian woman jailed for adultery in the UAE after reporting she had been raped has won the right to sue her own government for failing to warn her it could lead to imprisonment.

Alicia Gali on Tuesday won the right to take Australian diplomats to court over the case in Queensland's Supreme Court, arguing they failed to give her proper advice, newswire AAP reported.

Alicia Gali, a former beauty salon manager at the luxury Le Méridien Al Aqah in Fujairah, claimed she was drugged and raped by three co-workers in June 2008.

The 29-year-old was jailed for eight months on charges of adultery after reporting the assault to UAE authorities – a consequence she claims an Australian consulate official in Dubai should have warned her about.

“Alicia was merely told that she should reconsider her need to be in the country at that time, but the embassy was fully aware that Alicia's employer was illegally holding her passport,” Gali's lawyer Michelle James told reporters.

“They didn't assist her to have the passport returned. They didn't advise her to seek local legal representation. The embassy's deficient advice led to Ms Gali spending a hellish eight months in prison.”

Ms Gali has already won leave to pursue legal action against international group Starwood Hotels, manager of Le Méridien Al Aqah, for allegedly failing in its workplace duty of care.  

In a previous statement, her lawyer said the hotel had failed to provide segregated, secure quarters for female employees or adequate training on local laws and customs.

The case is likely to proceed in Australia.

In a previous statement, a spokesperson for Le Méridien Al Aqah said the hotel was aware of the incident and that staff safety was “a paramount priority”.

“The local authorities applied local laws and determined that it was appropriate to incarcerate Ms. Gali and the other individuals involved in this matter,” the spokesperson said, adding the hotel had supported Gali throughout the incident.

“Including assisting with medical support, arranging for financial support, assistance with the investigation, liaising with her representative embassy and arranging for her family to come to the UAE from Australia.”

mumeen chowdhury 8 years ago

Now, the non-Islamic community should understand and accept the need and virtues of segregation of sexes. This is the rule of the Creator who knows our instincts and impulses and thus set rules for our day to day life for our own purity, dignity and benefits.

Mounir 8 years ago

Mumeen, I am a muslim and I say that your words do not resonate with more than a small minority of so-called Muslims.

Islam is about working hard, about peace, about being honest, about being clean, about being true to yourself and family. Segregation of the sexes comes soooo far down the list that it shouldn't even be mentioned. A good muslim should be able to control himself.

I think we should talk about segregation after we as a population rid our selves from corrupt regimes, terrorists who kill in our name, and quit blaming the west for all our woes. AFTER we do that, and after we become a contributing, positive member of this planet, THEN we can discuss something as ignorant as 'segregation of the sexes'.

mumeen chowdhury 8 years ago

Mounir - Thanks for your views which you are entitled to. You can wait and we too have to wait to see what's Allah's definition of Islam and Muslim. Islam is by faith and obedience and not by name or birth right.

gordon 8 years ago

I want my wife and daughter to have the same freedom and opportunity as myself and to be safe when they travel and go about there normal life.

Anyone who cant control their instincts and impulses should be locked away to protect society.

Marijke 8 years ago

Mounir, and who are you to decide which Islamic rules are more important than other s? I am suprises that you, as a Muslim think you can judge the rules and. As a Muslim, I am obliged to abide by these laws as Allah has decided on this according to His wisdom.
Gordon, here in Dubai you can live your life, there are just laws you have to abide by. That applies in any country. And perhapd you definition of freedom is different than someone else's but if you find it difficult to abide by the laws of the country you live in you're kind of in the wrong place. Would you travel to Thailand with mariuana in your bag, knowing that could get you life in prison or execution becuase you want freedom?

Kelly P 8 years ago

Marijke what on earth are you talking about? I mean honestly? A girl was raped and upon reporting the rape to the police - was imprisoned for eight months on charges of adultery... and you compare that to smuggling drugs into Thailand? Good grief...

ps: Mounir it is so refreshing to hear your common sense view towards this issue - "segregation of the sexes" is impractical and outdated

Marijke 8 years ago

Kelly, if you read my post you would know what I am talking about. I clearly responded to posts by others. Read carefully again and then respond. As for your approval of Mounir's comment: This is an Islamic country and under Islamic rules segregation of the sexes is normal. If you find it outdated and impractical, than that is your problem. The problem lies with people who come here and want to live their lives as they did back home without having to abide by the rules here. I do not see in my response that she deserved being imprisoned.
I feel sorry for the girl, if her story is true. As for now, there is no evidence.