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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Qatari prince guilty of child sex
A Qatari prince has been convicted in the Czech Republic of sexually abusing young girls and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Hamid Bin Abdul Sani al-Thani was tried in Prague after a Czech judge turned down a request from Qatar to have him sent back home to face trial.

Al-Thani was found guilty of paying to have sex with four girls aged under 15 between 2001 and 2004.

He was arrested after one of the girls told her mother about the offer of sex.

Czech officials have admitted that the refusal to allow al-Thani to return to Qatar could strain relations between the two nations, which do not have an official extradition treaty.

Money for girls

Al-Thani has lived privately in the Czech Republic for 10 years and has no diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

Czech prosecutors accused him of arranging for young girls to be brought to his home for sex.

He allegedly paid three Czech women to offer girls on the street Kc2,000 ($84, 46) to visit his apartment for sex.

The women, described by the presiding judge as "both guilty and victims", were allegedly paid Kc1,000 for each girl they provided.

Al-Thani was arrested last year and has spent 10 months in custody awaiting trial.

In April, Czech Justice Minister Pavel Nemec agreed to allow al-Thani to return to Qatar after receiving assurances he would face prosecution in his homeland.

But prosecutors objected and he was forced to stand trial in Prague.

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