Britons face jail in Dubai over kiss


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/14/kiss-dubai-britons-public

Pair are currently free on bail but could face up to a month in prison after being accused of kissing in public by a mother

Britons arrested for kissing in DubaiThe British pair were arrested in Dubai after a mother complained her child had seem them kissing. Photograph: Jorge Ferrari/EPA

Two Britons accused of kissing in public in Dubai face up to a month in prison after a mother complained her child had seen them.

Ayman Najafi, 24, from Palmers Green, and a female friend named by the Sun as tourist Charlotte Lewis, 25, launched an appeal in a Dubai court today but will have to wait three weeks to find out if they have been successful.

Najafi, who has lived in Dubai for the past 18 months, and Lewis were arrested last November and accused of kissing, touching each other intimately and consuming alcohol.

The pair, currently free on bail, were also fined 1,000 dirhams (£178) for illegal consumption of alcohol, the lawyer said. They had their passports confiscated and were to be deported after the completion of their jail sentence.

A lawyer for the pair said there had been no inappropriate kissing and the pair were just friends. “There was no lip kissing. It was just a normal greeting that is not considered offensive,” Khalaf al-Hosani told AFP, adding the complainant’s testimony was contradictory.

A verdict is expected on 4 April.

Najafi’s mother, Maida, said that she hadn’t slept or eaten for two days since hearing the news, but insisted her son was a “well-behaved, decent Muslim” who knew the rules in the emirate.

From her home in Palmers Green, she said: “I’m still waiting for news. When he spoke to me yesterday he was shattered, exhausted and confused. He told me: ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m all right.'”

She said that her eldest son, who was due home for his birthday in a couple of weeks, had vowed to clear his name.

“I haven’t slept or eaten for two days but I know he’s a strong man and he’s tough. He’s a fighter and he is going to do well.

“He’s not a very strict Muslim but a decent Muslim and he knows the rules over there.” She said that her son did not have a girlfriend and she did not know his co-accused.

Dubai’s misdemeanours court reportedly heard evidence from a mother who initially complained to police. She said she was offended by the couple’s behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her daughter.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “A British national was arrested in Dubai on 27 November. Consular assistance was provided at the time.”

The case is the third in under two years in which Britons have fallen foul of decency laws in Dubai. Dubai’s burgeoning foreign population, which now outnumbers that of Emirati nationals, has sparked concerns that the pace of change is threatening the conservative region’s social and religious identity.

In 2008, a British couple narrowly escaped jail after being found guilty of engaging in drunken sexual activity out of wedlock and in public. This year, a British couple who shared a Dubai hotel room escaped trial for having sex out of wedlock by producing a marriage certificate.

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2 thoughts on “Britons face jail in Dubai over kiss

  1. Does that complaining mother never kiss or hug her husband in front of her children? Well, I wasn’t there to see how “involved” the British couple were so who knows. But I’m surprised the complainer didn’t take a picture with her cell phone camera for evidence.

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