Singapore

Jail, caning for Saudi diplomat in molest case

A Saudi Arabian diplomat, who was convicted of twice molesting a young hotel intern and using criminal force on her, was sentenced to 26 months and one week in jail, and four strokes of the cane yesterday.

Bander Yahya A. Alzahrani, who is attached to the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Beijing, is appealing against his conviction and sentence.

The father of three was on holiday here with his family when the offences were committed at a hotel in Sentosa on Aug 14 last year.

The 39-year-old was found guilty on Wednesday of kissing the 20-year-old on her neck and hugging her while wrongfully restraining her inside the hotel room.

He was also found guilty of kissing the victim's neck a second time, touching her improperly and forcing her to touch him in return.

In her oral grounds, District Judge Lee Poh Choo found the victim to be "unusually convincing" and had no motive to falsely implicate Alzahrani.

She rejected the defence assertion that the incident was a set-up and that the victim conspired with other employees to bring those false allegations against him to extort money from him.

The victim had in fact been reluctant to divulge anything as she was "confused" and did not know what to do.

She said to a colleague, who noticed her distress and unusual behaviour, that the guest had told her this was a "top secret" between them.

Cajoled for hours by her colleagues, the victim eventually told and demonstrated her version of events to various people.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

Saudi ArabiaMolesthotel