DE RUEHAD #1342 0951352
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051352Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4376
INFO RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN 0003
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 6005
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL C O N F I D E N T I A L ABU DHABI 001342
STATE FOR PM - R.LOFTIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/2011
SUBJECT: NATO SOLDIER SENTENCED TO 80 LASHES FOR OFFENSES
DURING AIRPORT LAYOVER
Classified By: Ambassador Michele J. Sison, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) On April 3, a Shari'a court in the northern emirate
of Sharjah sentenced Estonian Master Sergeant Andrei Korol to
one month in jail and 80 lashes for crimes committed at
Sharjah International Airport on February 23. Korol was
sentenced to 40 lashes and time served for public
intoxication, and three months in jail for sexual harassment.
Korol chose to substitute an additional 40 lashes in lieu of
the three months in jail, and will be deported following
completion of his sentence.
2. (SBU) According to English-language dailies "Gulf News"
and "Khaleej Times," Korol, an Estonian soldier attached to
the NATO peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, was arrested on
February 23 during a layover on his return to Estonia. Korol
reportedly purchased a large quantity of alcohol in the
Sharjah duty free shops and consumed it in between his
flights. Looking for a restroom, Korol reportedly found
himself in the ladies room, where he molested a Sharjah
policewoman of Egyptian nationality who had fallen asleep on
a sofa. The arresting officers reported that they found
Korol in the ladies room, lying on top of the screaming
3. (SBU) Note: The Shari'a courts in the emirate of Sharjah
are known among the strictest in the UAE. There is zero
tolerance for public intoxication, and a penalty of 40 lashes
is consistent with other cases of this nature. An additional
40 lashes in lieu of jail time is on the lenient side of the
range of possible penalties for sexual assault, which often
include lashes in addition to jail time. End note.
4. (SBU) CG Dubai received a phone call the afternoon of
April 5 from his Dutch counterpart. The Dutch CG said his
government had agreed to assist the Estonian government in
seeking a resolution of the case. The Dutch CG was calling
from the prosecutor's office in Sharjah. He had gone there
under the impression that the soldier would be receiving a
"very light" flogging, after which he would be released into
the Dutch CG's custody. Unfortunately, the agreement
regarding the flogging had apparently broken down, and the
prosecutor was refusing to release the soldier. The Dutch CG
said he was told by the Sharjah prosecutor that "the
Americans are pressuring us not to carry out the lashing."
Instead, the prosecutor will be appealing the case, and
seeking the maximum 15-year imprisonment sentence. The
soldier "collapsed" upon hearing the news, according to the
Dutch CG, who noted that "the legal case is now back to
square one." (Note: Neither Embassy nor ConGen Dubai has
been in contact with UAE authorities on this matter. End
5. (C) Comment: This case is instructive for U.S. armed
forces and coalition personnel who are in the UAE on ship
visits, deployed, transiting, and training here. There are
approximately 1,400 U.S. Air Force personnel assigned here,
and last year, approximately 77,000 Sailors enjoyed liberty
while in UAE ports. Given the Estonian case, it behooves us
to understand that UAE laws could be applied in criminal
cases that involve U.S. and/or civilian personnel. Although
the current U.S.-UAE Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA)
states that the U.S. retains criminal jurisdiction over all
DoD personnel, the UAE has the right to enforce local laws
pertaining to "Special Category of Criminal Acts" such as the
one under which this soldier was prosecuted. (Note: The UAE
maintains the DCA cannot be implemented because it was never
ratified by each of the seven emirates. End Note.) End
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