You may remember that Roxanne is the young woman who was accused of having sex with her Emirati boss and then sentenced to a three month jail term even after medical tests showed that there was no sexual contact.
Roxanne was working as a dive instructor in Sharjah which is an emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). News reports describe that she was sleeping alone in a room that was upstairs from the dive shop when police bashed down her locked door and placed her under arrest.
She was accused of being alone in a room with her boss and with having sex with him.
In the confusion that ensued Roxanne mistakingly signed a confession written in Arabic believing that her signature would end her ordeal.
She was wrong.
When she realized her mistake she retracted her confession but it was too late.
She was found guilty and sentenced anyway. Her boss was also found guilty and given a six month sentence.
Roxanne is a South African citizen and you would think that our government would be looking to secure her immediate release.
There is, afterall, more than enough reason to believe that she is being victimized unfairly.
Roxanne's case will be appealed this Sunday (June 14). I really hope that some sense prevails and the respective authorities act in the interests of justice and rescind the judgement, or at the very least, allow her to leave the UAE.
It would be very easy to criticize the draconian laws that regulate relationships between men and women in the UAE but that is not even the central issue here.
What is of paramount importance is the fact that there is no proof that Roxanne broke the law, even by the invasive standards imposed by the Sharjah authorities.
Let's hope that their appeals process recognizes what her hasty trial did not.
Picture and story credit.
UPDATE (Sunday June 14, 2009)
Roxanne Hillier's father, Freddie, left a message here this morning to let readers know that Roxanne's case has been "set out".
"Roxanne's case has been once again set out out until the 21 June for judgment. Bail denied again."I am disappointed to read about this delay as I am sure many of you are.
So Roxanne will have to wait for another week in harrowing uncertainty. The same is true for her loved ones.
At the very least there is one bright spot for Roxanne and that is the presence of her mother, Ina, in the UAE. The authorities are allowing Ina to visit Roxanne once a day over the previous bi-weekly arrangement.
The South African consul in the UAE has also visited Roxanne and I hope that this indicates that the UAE is being pressured to release her.
You can show your support for Roxanne by visiting a Facebook page dedicated to her plight. Her mother prints out support messages and Roxanne gets to read them.
So get to writing and show your support for Roxanne and human rights!