Dubai Taxi Romp: Pair Jailed For Tryst

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A
British woman and Irish man accused of engaging in sexual activities in a Dubai
taxi have been sentenced to three months in prison and then deportation, their
lawyer says.
The
case is the latest in which Westerners have fallen foul of the United Arab
Emirates’ decency laws, highlighting cultural differences as the UAE seeks a
balance between maintaining its Muslim identity and catering for a vibrant
tourism industry.

Rebecca
Blake and Conor McRedmond both denied charges of “breach of honour with
consent” and committing “an indecent act in a taxi” when they
appeared in court last month. They also pleaded guilty to a third charge
related to consumption of alcohol in public.

“The
court sentenced them to jail for three months and deportation in addition to a
fine of 3000 dirhams each,” their lawyer Shaker al-Shammary said.

He
said they would appeal.

There
have been several cases in recent years of Westerners accused of violating
decency laws in Dubai, the most cosmopolitan of the seven-member UAE
federation.
In
2008, a British couple was found guilty of engaging in drunken sexual activity
out of wedlock and in public on a beach in Dubai. They were sentenced to three
months in prison followed by deportation but had their jail terms overturned on
appeal.
In
2010, another British couple were sentenced to a month in jail and fined for
kissing on the mouth in a restaurant in Dubai.
The
cultural chasm in the Gulf Arab state between the country’s native Muslim
population and the expatriates community, is conspicuous in everyday life.
While
Emirati women cover themselves from head to toe with a headscarf and a
traditional black gown, some of their Western expatriate counterparts walk around in shorts or mini-skirts, and
public beaches are full of tourists sunbathing in bikinis.
Islam
bans alcohol for Muslims. In the UAE, non-Muslims can drink at most hotels and
beach bars where all-you-can-drink brunches heave with revellers every weekend.
Expatriates
make up more than 90 per cent of the UAE’s population.
In
September, after Qantas announced its tie-up with Dubai airline Emirates,
Liberal Senator Helen Kroger warned more Australians might fall foul of the the UAE’s tough justice system.
AP

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