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China Daily Website

Saudi Arabian sentenced to 5 years in prison

Updated: 2013-08-16 22:24
By Jin Haixing in Beijing and Feng Zhiwei in Changsha ( China Daily)

A court in Hunan province sentenced a Saudi Arabian man to five years imprisonment and subsequent deportation for an attempted rape case in April.

The man named Alsubaie, 22, of Saudi Arabia, was detained for sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in public in the provincial capital of Changsha on April 4 after witnesses seized him and notified police.

The man later confessed to the assault, according to the Furong district court. jailed

After the verdict was read on Thursday, Mao Jinsong, a lawyer in Changsha and Alsubaie's attorney, said his defendant will appeal the sentence in 10 days and is currently in custody.

Jiang Chengliu, a spokesman for the court, said on Friday this is the first time a local court in Hunan province has handled a case involving a foreigner. Jiang added that under a new national law that took effect on Jan 1, local courts are now authorized to prosecute foreigners.

Before China amended its Criminal Procedure Law, only procuratorates or courts above the city level could handle cases involving foreigners.

According to a report by Xiaoxiang Morning Post, the Saudi Arabian man was a student learning Chinese at Central South University in Changsha. The university confirmed that Alsubaie began attending the school in September 2012 and was on a one-year program.

Many students of the university interviewed by China Daily said they were shocked when they heard the news. The university department in charge of foreign students could not be reached on Friday.

Qin Qianhong, a law professor at Wuhan University, said the sentence handed down on Thursday is justifiable because the case involved sexual assault.

But he expressed concern over the deportation because in previous cases, many criminals were deported before they finished their prison terms.

"The laws should treat Chinese and foreigners equally," Qin said on Friday.

Li Weimin, director of Beijing Weibo Law Firm, disagreed with the local court's verdict.

"The rape happened in a public area, which means that the suspect should get more than 10 years imprisonment according to Chinese laws," Li said.

The case in Hunan province means foreigners must abide by the same set of laws presiding over Chinese people, Li said.

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