New Yorker jailed for sexual assault on Dubai flight

The victim fell asleep after taking prescription medication on a long-haul Emirates flight from Dubai to New York.
The victim fell asleep after taking prescription medication on a long-haul Emirates flight from Dubai to New York.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - A 43-year-old US man was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday (Aug 12) for sexually assaulting a woman while she slept on a flight from Dubai to New York.

Nadeem Mehmood Quraishi, from Staten Island in New York, was handed the statutory maximum punishment for carrying out the assault while on board an Emirates flight on Oct 26, 2015.

Quraishi was convicted by a jury in April following a US federal trial in Brooklyn.

His victim fell asleep after taking prescription medication on the more than 12-hour flight from Dubai to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In the original complaint, the woman said that after she woke up, Quraishi - who was sitting next to her in economy class - asked if she had a good nap. She then discovered lotion had been spread on her arms, chest and up her legs.

When going to the bathroom, she noticed that her underwear had been shifted and lotion smeared underneath.

Confronted by flight attendants, Quraishi admitted applying the woman's own body lotion to her genital area, prosecutors said.

US attorney Robert Capers called it "an outrageous affront to what should have been a safe and peaceful passage on an international flight."

Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI's office in New York, said the defendant took "full advantage" of his victim while she was at her most vulnerable.

"It's unfair to ask passengers to keep their wits about them for more than half a day in the air, which is why we take crimes aboard aircraft so seriously," he said.