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$1M bail set in rape case involving Saudi air force sergeant, teen boy in Las Vegas

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 8:06 p.m.

LAS VEGAS — Despite a defense attorney's complaints, a judge in Nevada set bail at $1.22 million Friday for a Saudi Arabia air force sergeant jailed since New Year's Eve when he was accused of pulling a 13-year-old boy into a Las Vegas Strip hotel room and raping him.

Defense attorney Don Chairez said his client, Mazen Alotaibi, “probably” could post what Chairez called the “extraordinarily high” bail, surrender his diplomatic passport and be freed pending an evidentiary hearing Jan. 31.

But Chairez said he'd recommend to Saudi authorities the 23-year-old aircraft mechanic remain in jail until a Jan. 31 evidentiary hearing. The money would be better spent investigating charges and preparing Alotaibi's defense, Chairez said.

He alleged outside court that his client was treated unfairly by police because he was too drunk on cognac Dec. 31 to surrender his right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

“Somebody who's under the influence cannot give up his right to an attorney,” Chairez contended.

Alotaibi stood in court with an Arabic language interpreter and said nothing while Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Bill Kephart called the allegations against him “appalling.” The judge noted that if Alotaibi fled the country, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia do not have an extradition treaty.

“I don't know the truth of either side here,” said Kephart, who will make the decision whether to move the case to state court if there is enough evidence for trial.

Alotaibi is accused of forcing the boy into a hotel room where as many as four other Saudi officers smoked cigarettes or marijuana the morning before a New Year's Eve fireworks celebration on the Vegas Strip.

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