updated 12/12/2007 2:51:20 AM ET 2007-12-12T07:51:20

A panel of judges sentenced two Emirati men to 15 years in prison each Wednesday in connection with a kidnapping and sexual attack on a 15-year-old French-Swiss boy.

Neither of the defendants nor the underage victim, who now lives in Europe, were present in the courtroom when the three-judge panel read the sentences.

The two men, ages 35 and 18, had been charged with “kidnapping with deceit” and “forced homosexual relations,” a charge that can be punished with life imprisonment or death.

The judges did not state specifically what each defendant was convicted of, in line with the confidentiality clauses in Dubai’s court system.

The highly charged case has raised questions over the treatment of sex crime victims in this rapidly growing but deeply conservative Gulf city-state.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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