Sharia Flogging for Estonian Soldier

An Estonian soldier on his way home after having served with the coalition forces in Afghanistan, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates and will be flogged. Andrei Korol was accused of being drunk and harassing a local policewoman while he was in transit at Sharjah international airport where they “make your life easy.”

The incident happened on 23 February. There were no witnesses of the alleged harassment. Korol’s comrades say that he was so tired and drunk that most of the time at the airport he was napping. UAE law does not allow locals to drink at all while foreigners can do it only in certain designated areas.

A court sentenced the Estonian sergeant major to a one month jail sentence for drinking and had him choose between either three months in jail or 80 lashes with a whip (which could be fatal). His lawyer says Korol chose flogging. He has already spent more than a month in a local jail.

Estonia has soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The soldiers are there for six months on a voluntary basis. The incident involving Andrei Korol has elicited severe criticism of the Estonian government. Some say Estonia is failing to provide protection to members of its armed forces from a so-called ally. Some are indignant at sharia laws. Others, however, criticise the Estonian army leadership for the lack of discipline among soldiers who are not on duty.

Flogging cancelled

The second level court has decided to overrule punishment of the soldier. He's been set free until next court meeting.

Sharia Law and Europeans

This should not be tolerated.

If the officer has actually done something like harrass the police officer, then he should be charged and dealt with. However if he has actually done nothing and this is a case of blackmail as happens more often than most like to admit in that country, then the Estonian goverment needs to do something about it.

As for Sharia law, if the Arabs want that form of barbarism, then that should be respected, but any attempt to impose it on us here in Europe, should be seen for what it is, an act of anti-European agression with an appropiate response.

When the people fear their government,
there is tyranny; when the government
fears the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

some additional info about the case

The incident occured in transit zone of Emirates Shariah airport. The soldiers were coming back from their half-year mission in Afganistan via Emirates. It seems that the seargant was drunk and entered the room where a policewoman slept. It was not allowed for employees to sleep at all in this resting room. Transit zone - no entering the country.
Alleged crime of the seargant was being drunk and harrassment of a policewoman. The suspect's testimony was that he hadn't slept for a long time, drank lot of brandy which was sold in transit zone cafe and went to look for a toilet. He was leaded to a nearby unlocked door and from this point on he doesn't remember.
The policewoman Mirvat Ahmed Younis (36) told in private conversation with an Estonian journalist that there was no harrassment taking place. As an answer to question why she was accusing him then, Mirvat answered, that she's got children to keep up. Sources claim that Mirvat refused to give testimony in court about this specific soldier harassing her.
After the first court meeting the victim and her mother gave an interview in which they stated the fact that Christians are not allowed to harrass women too. When answered that christians are not allowed to lie also, the conversation just ended rapidly.
The first court meetings were in Arabian language without translation and despite the fact that suspect had bought a lawyer he was not able to understand accusation nor defend himself. This is not legal even in Shariah' Emirate.
A female journalist from Khaleej Times newspaper of Dubai, said that it's also not legal by Shariah Emirate laws to keep a suspect under custody without court for more than three weeks. She was sure that this is a straight case of blackmailing.

MNC is Correct for the Most Part.

I lived in the UAE for six years and an important motto to pick up is to be discreet with your indiscretions.

 In fact, to say locals are barred from drinking in the bars is a stretch at best. If they want beer they can get it. Fujairah another Emirate has wide open liquor access while Sharjah completely forbids it. Most Emirates were somewhere in between.

We may not be getting the

We may not be getting the whole story here. What was the charge, merely being drunk or more seriously, assaulting a police officer?

During the 90's, I flew through Sharjah quite a few times on the way to/from a desert site and have been the worse for wear a few times (first/last drink for several months). Never a problem. Just being drunk is not a problem, there has to be something else.
I suspect he may have responded angrily or aggressively to whatever the policewoman said to him leading to the harassment charge which I think is almost certainly the central issue.

Sharia or not, mess with a cop, you're in trouble.

He is a sergeant-major. Presumably the senior NCO. Surely he had a responsibility to stay sober and look after his men until they got home safe.

The various emirates have different laws regarding alcohol, just as different counties in the US. Sharjah itself is dry, it's only bar is in the airport, but non-Muslims can buy 4 bottles of spirits/wine and a case of beer duty free on arrival. 7 or 8 miles down the road is Dubai where most 4 and 5 star hotels have bars that do lots of business. If there is a ban on locals drinking, and I have heard locally that there is, it is widely honored in the breach. Check out Meridien Village just across the road from Dubai Airport.