- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

PARIS A businesswoman who accused three men of gang rape has been arrested in the Arab emirate of Dubai and faces trial on charges of adultery.

Touria Tiouli, 39, from Limoges, France, has had her passport confiscated and cannot leave Dubai after being charged under the emirate's Shariah law, according to her statement released by her friends back home.

The Shariah law declares any sexual relationship outside marriage to be illegal.

Mrs. Tiouli was on a business trip last October when, she says, she was raped by three men who offered her a lift home from a nightclub.

She reported the attack immediately to the Dubai police, who after investigating her claim arrested her rather than those she accused.

One of the men admitted to having "consensual sex" with Mrs. Tiouli, which made her, in the eyes of Dubai's judiciary, guilty of both adultery and making a false rape accusation. She could face up to 18 months in prison. None of the men has been charged.

Mrs. Tiouli was held in prison for five days and has since been staying at a hotel.

The government has taken her passport and refused to let her leave the country until her trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

In the statement released yesterday, Mrs. Tiouli said that when she reported her rape to the police, "I was crying and I saw quickly that my story did not carry any weight with them."

Mrs. Tiouli, who is divorced, was born in Morocco, but moved to France as a child and is a French citizen.

This was her third visit to Dubai, where she worked on behalf of French luxury-goods companies establishing links in the local market, and she was also dealing with the French Consulate.

Shariah law is applied with varying severity in many Muslim countries. In Nigeria, adultery is punishable by stoning to death, while in Dubai, a prison sentence is usual.

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