Just Another Guy with Opinions

French Boy Raped in Dubai

Posted by shadmia on November 2, 2007


Alexandre Robert, 15, a French citizen, was having the time of his life. It was summertime and he was in Dubai, a tourist paradise on the Persian Gulf. He slipped away from the hot beach, to enjoy the air conditioned comfort of an arcade. He left the arcade about sunset and accepted a ride from a 17-year-old school acquaintance, who promised to take him home.

Two other men, aged 18 and 35, were also in the car. Instead of taking Alex home, they drove past his house to a desert area between a row of new villas and a power plant, took away his cellphone, threatened him with a knife and a club, and told him they would kill his family if he ever reported them.

Then they stripped off his pants and one by one sodomized him in the back seat of the car.

Alex did however go to his parents and reported what had happened. He was examined by an Egyptian doctor that very night who took swabs of DNA for traces of the rapists’ sperm. He did not take blood tests or examine Alex with a speculum. Then he cleared the room and told Alex: “I know you’re a homosexual. You can admit it to me. I can tell.”

Alex told his father in tears: “I’ve just been raped by three men, and he’s saying I’m a homosexual,” according to interviews with both of them.

The doctor also wrote in his report that he found “no evidence of forced penetration” which Alex’s family says is a false assessment that could hurt the case against the assailants. That was just the beginning of the hurdles that Alex would have to go through with the authorities.

The authorities not only discouraged Alex from pressing charges, he, his family and French diplomats say; they raised the possibility of charging him with criminal homosexual activity, and neglected for weeks to inform him or his parents that one of his attackers had tested H.I.V. positive while in prison four years earlier.

“They tried to smother this story,” Alex said by phone from Switzerland, where he fled a month into his 10th-grade school year, fearing a jail term in Dubai if charged with homosexual activity. “Dubai, they say we build the highest towers, they have the best hotels. But all the news, they hide it. They don’t want the world to know that Dubai still lives in the Middle Ages.”

Alex’s case has raised diplomatic tensions between the Emirates and France, which has lodged official complaints about the apparent cover-up of one assailant’s H.I.V. status and other irregularities. The tension and growing publicity over the case seem to have prompted the authorities to take action. After the family learned about the older attacker’s H.I.V. status and the French government lodged complaints with the United Arab Emirates authorities, the Dubai attorney general’s office assigned a new prosecutor to the case. Only then were forensic tests performed to confirm that sperm from all three attackers had been found in Alex.

“The grave deficiencies or incoherence of the investigation appear to result, in part, from gross incompetence of the services involved in the United Arab Emirates, but also from the moral, pseudoscientific and political prejudices which undoubtedly influenced the inquiry,” the French ambassador to the United Arab Emirates wrote in a confidential cable.

United Arab Emirates law does not recognize rape of males, only a crime called “forced homosexuality.”

The two adult men charged with sexually assaulting Alex have pleaded not guilty, although sperm from all three were found in Alex. The two adults appeared in court and were appointed a lawyer. They face trial before a three-judge panel on Nov. 7. The third, a minor, will be tried in juvenile court. Legal experts here say that men convicted of sexually assaulting other men usually serve sentences ranging from a few months to two years.

Mr. Demas, from the Dubai attorney general’s office, said he had no intention of prosecuting Alex and was seeking the death penalty for the two adult attackers. “This crime is an outrage against society,” he said.

Alex is now living with the fear that he may have contracted H.I.V. from his assailants. He has been tested and so far has been negative. Another test is scheduled for six months after the rape. On advice of his lawyer and French diplomats, Alex says he will not return to Dubai but wants very much for the men to be convicted.

“Sometimes you feel crazy, you know?” he said. “It’s hard, but we have to be strong. I’m doing this for all the other poor kids who got raped and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Alex’s mother, Veronique Robert, has set up a website for those who wish to share their experiences and express their thoughts at:

Tears have no identity, no religion. We must unite so when tears run , it will no longer be in loneliness but in front of the whole world’s eyes , with many hands to wipe them.

Veronique Robert


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One Response to “French Boy Raped in Dubai”

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