Saudi Arab

Saudi diplomat found guilty of sex assault in Singapore

A court in Singapore has found a Saudi diplomat guilty of sexually abusing a young hotel intern in the Southeast Asian city-state.

Following an eight-day trial, Beijing-based Saudi diplomat Bander Yahya A al-Zahrani was convicted of three charges of sexual assault on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old diplomat claimed that the victim had conspired with other hotel staff to implicate him in the case and extort money from him.

However, District Judge Lee Poh Choo rejected Alzahrani’s defense and said that he was “not a credible witness.”

The Saudi diplomat committed the offense while on holiday in a hotel room in the Singaporean island resort of Sentosa on August 14, 2016

Zahrani, who is expected to be sentenced on Friday, could be jailed for up to three months and fined up to $1,500 for using force against the 20-year-old victim and sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment and lashing for molestation.

Judge Lee said the victim should not be faulted for minor discrepancies in her evidence as the police officers who interviewed her were male.

The fact that the victim did not shout for help or attempt to escape should not undermine her case, the judge said, adding, “There is no template for how a victim should or must react. It was obvious to me that the victim was timid and new to the real and harsh world.”

In October 2015, a Saudi diplomat was accused of sexually assaulting and facilitating gang rapes of two Nepali women who worked for him in his luxury apartment near New Delhi.


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