Singapore sentences Saudi diplomat to caning ‘for molesting hotel intern’
But father of three, who was on holiday with family, is appealing sentence. His legal team accuse victim of trying to extort money.
A Saudi diplomat has been sentenced to a caning by a judge in Singapore for allegedly molesting a hotel intern.
Bander Yahya A Alzahrani, who works for the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Beijing, faces four strokes of the stick after being found guilty of groping the 20-year-old woman in an en-suite bathroom.
Caning is legal for sexual abuse, vandalism and rioting offenders, as well as for foreigners who have overstayed visas by more than 90 days.
The same corporal punishment can be dished out for convicts in Mr Alzahrani’s native Saudi Arabia.
According to the Straits Times, the court heard the father of three was on holiday with his family when he started kissing the intern on her neck and face in a Sentosa hotel on 14 August last year.
The popular island resort attracts around 20m people each year and boasts a 2km-long sheltered beach, two golf courses, 14 hotels and a Universal Studios theme park.
The 39-year-old was convicted of molesting her on two occasions, and during the second time, forcing her to touch him.
District Judge Lee Poh Choo reportedly found the victim, who denied her allegations were part of a false conspiracy to extort money, “unusually convincing”.
He was also sentenced today to 26 months and one week in jail, but because he is appealing the conviction, has been released on a $S20,000 (£11,400) bail.
Corporal punishment is largely banned throughout Europe and in 31 US states.
Indonesia, one of several south-east Asia countries where caning is written into the national judicial system, caned a 20-year-old woman for standing too close to her boyfriend.
Caning in Singapore
Singapore is known for its strict laws. Even minor offenses like eating or drinking on public transport carry penalties that are almost unthinkable for the Western mind – well over 3,000 euros ($3,300).
Other crimes are punished far more severely in the authoritarian state. Vandalism can land you in prison for three years, accompanied by up to eight strikes of the cane on your naked behind.
As draconian as this process appears (Draco was a Greek law scribe infamous for his disproportionately harsh punishments), it is also rigidly regulated, dating back to British colonial rule. While Great Britain abolished the penalty of caning in 1948, however, many former colonies didn’t.
In Singapore, the cane has to be 120 centimeters long, 13 millimeters thick and extremely elastic. The person caning has been trained to induce as much pain as possible; a velocity of 160 kilometers per hour can be reached. Three strikes is generally all it takes to pierce the skin (which is moistened to avoid slivering), and scarring almost always ensues.
Courtesy: Interdependent.co.uk and dw.com