DUBAI (Reuters) - Two Britons were found guilty on Thursday of having sex on a Dubai beach and sentenced to three months’ jail followed by deportation.
Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer, who were also fined 1,000 dirhams ($272) each, had pleaded not guilty to charges of having sex in public and committing an indecent act in public, but admitted to an alcohol-related offence.
The Briton’s lawyer, Hassan Mattar, told Reuters he would appeal against the sentence.
“This verdict does not make sense to me,” Mattar said. “I am going to appeal it once I know the judge’s reasoning behind it.”
As the tourism hub of the Gulf, home to man-made palm-tree-shaped islands and the world’s tallest building, Dubai seeks a delicate balance between maintaining its Muslim identity and catering for foreign pleasure-seekers.
Expatriates comprise over 90 percent of its population, attracted by tax-free earnings and year-round sunshine. There are frequent reports of foreigners falling foul of local laws in the United Arab Emirates that strictly control drinking and ban homosexuality and public displays of affection.
Mattar said the British pair were free on bail and that a judge would decide whether or not the bail would be extended until the appeal court issued its ruling.
He expected further ramifications from the case. “I believe there will be serious monitoring on the beaches, Mattar said. “The state will ... warn different communities and especially Europeans not to commit those acts.”
Reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky, editing by Mark Trevelyan