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Australia woman to sue diplomats on UAE rape advice

08 june 2011, 11:43
An Australian woman jailed in the United Arab Emirates for adultery after reporting she had been raped on Tuesday won the right to sue diplomats for failing to warn her it could land her in jail, AFP reports.

Alicia Gali, 29, spent eight months in prison after telling UAE officials that she was raped by three or four employees of Fujairah's Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, where she worked as a salon manager, in 2008.

Convicted of drinking without a permit and adultery after it emerged that some of the men were married, Gali was released in 2009 following a pardon.

She is suing the hotel and its owners for failing to protect staff against assault or the consequences of reporting it, claiming that the resort also encouraged workers to drink in breach of strict alcohol laws.

On Tuesday, Gali won the right to take Australian diplomats to court over the case in Queensland's Supreme Court, arguing they also failed to give her proper advice, Australian Associated Press reported.

"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."

A foreign office spokeswoman confirmed that Gali had commenced legal action "in relation to consular services provided to her in Dubai," but declined to comment further.

"The department will defend this claim. As the matter is now before the Supreme Court of Queensland it is not appropriate to go into further detail."

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