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Wed 12 Dec 2007 12:55 PM

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UAE nationals get 15 years for rape of French boy

Dubai court sentences two nationals, refers $4mn compensation claim to civil courts.

A Dubai court has sentenced two UAE nationals to 15 years in prison each for the kidnap and rape of a 15-year old French-Swiss boy, a case that has been widely reported in the Western media.

The Dubai Court of First Instance delivered its verdict on Wednesday and referred the victim’s compensation claim of 15 million UAE dirhams ($4 million) to the civil courts.

Neither of the defendants nor the underage victim, who now lives in Europe, were present in the courtroom when the three-judge panel read out the sentences, newswire AP reported.

The victim’s mother, Veronique Robert, was present in the courtroom.

"Fifteen years is nothing for someone who knew he had AIDS," Robert told newswire AFP after the verdict. "I respect their justice system and I have no other comment to make before speaking to my lawyer."

The two men, Abu Bakr, a 35-year-old Aids and Hepatitis patient, and Ibrahim, his 18-year-old unemployed accomplice, had been charged with “kidnapping with deceit” and “forced homosexual relations”, a charge that can be punished with life imprisonment or death.

A 17-year old UAE national, I.S., has also been charged but will be prosecuted at the Juvenile Court.

In line with the confidentiality clauses in Dubai's court system, judges did not state specifically what each defendant was convicted of.

On July 14, the three men kidnapped the 15-year old boy, Alexandre, and his 16-year old friend, Fabrice K., from a mall in Dubai and drove them into the desert.

According to court testimony, the three men forcefully undressing Alexandre, threatening him with a knife, before sexually assaulting him. Alexandre's friend was kept inside the car.

Robert publicised her son's case through a website she launched in October to muster support for her demand that the UAE recognise homosexual rape in its legal system and set up adequate bodies to treat AIDS victims.

The website, www.boycottdubai.com, is dedicated to “all the children of the world whose wounds were never recognised, their words never heard and their suffering never known”.

”To all the Pakistani, Filipino, and Indian mothers who were expelled from Dubai to their countries of origin with their little children, wounded in their hearts, flesh and minds,” Robert says on the site.