Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Royal Pain: A Case Involving Belt-Whipping and Gay Flirtation Could Soon Play out in Europe's High Court

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Royal Pain: A Case Involving Belt-Whipping and Gay Flirtation Could Soon Play out in Europe's High Court

Article excerpt

WHEN SILVANO ORSI visited a Geneva hotel in August 2003, he never imagined it would lead to an international legal battle spanning years. Orsi, an Italian-American New Yorker in Switzerland for work, says he was the target of sexual advances that night by Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan, whose brother is now president of the United Arab Emirates. The sheikh, Orsi says, tried sitting on his lap and later sent a bottle of Dom Perignon to his table--Orsi sent it back. Al-Nahyan, surrounded by bodyguards, punched and kicked Orsi before whipping him with his belt, the American says.

In July 2008 a Swiss court found the sheikh guilty of inflicting bodily harm with the use of a dangerous object. But in March 2009, without disputing the beating, an appeals court ruled a belt was not a dangerous object when used to whip a person in the face, reversing the initial decision. Orsi then tried appealing to the Swiss high court, which refused to hear the case. …

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