Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Emirate sentences Britons to jail for beach sex

©

Latest update : 2008-10-16

A Dubai court sentenced two Britons found guilty of having sex on a beach to three months in jail and a 1,000 dirham ($272) fine, followed by deportation. The defence will appeal the sentence but prosecutors vowed to seek a harsher one.

A Dubai court on Thursday sentenced two Britons to three months in prison to be followed by their deportation for having sex on a beach in the booming Muslim Gulf emirate.
   
Michelle Palmer, 37, and Vince Acors, 34, were found guilty of having sex in a public place on July 5 after drinking heavily.
   
Both are still free on bail and were not in court to hear the verdict in the highly publicised case.
   
The defence vowed to appeal and said the relatively moderate ruling suggested that they only committed an indecent act in public and did not actually have sex.
   
But the prosecution said there was evidence they did have sexual intercourse and that it might appeal the "light" sentence.
   
"The sentence is rather light. I expect the prosecution to appeal," a prosecution official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
   
Under the laws of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, the maximum sentence for sex outside of marriage is one year imprisonment and the minimum is three months, the official said.
   
The same applies for committing an indecent act in public.
   
"The least they should have got is six months for the first charge (sex) and three months for the second (indecent act in public)," the  official said.
   
Judge Hamdi Abul Khair also fined Palmer and Acors 1,000 dirhams (272 dollars) each for drinking alcohol.
   
Both Palmer, a publishing executive was sacked from her job following the case, and Acors, who was visiting Dubai, have been barred from leaving the UAE.
   
The prosecution official dismissed a suggestion that the judge might have shown leniency because of the defendants' nationality or to avoid the negative publicity that a harsher sentence could have provoked in Britain -- a country that enjoys strong ties with the UAE.
   
"No way" can there be a link between the sentence and their nationality, he said.
   
The couple have 15 days to appeal, and defence lawyer Hassan Matar told AFP they would do so "as soon as possible."
   
"The verdict shows that the judge was convinced that they did not have sexual intercourse but he punished them for the indecent act of kissing (in public)," Matar said.
   
He said he did not think the prosecution would appeal. A court official familiar with similar cases agreed.
   
When the trial opened on August 12, Palmer denied having sex with Acors, saying they were simply "kissing and hugging."
   
A medical report handed to the judge last month said she was undergoing treatment for "depression and anxiety," but Matar said she was now in good shape.
   
Acors pleaded not guilty to having sex, but a prosecution official was quoted as saying he initially admitted the offence before changing his story.
   
Matar has insisted that the results of a medical test on Palmer just hours after they were arrested showed "she had not engaged in recent sexual intercourse," while the medical report for Acors was inconclusive.
   
The case has received extensive coverage in the British press and turned the spotlight on the lifestyle of the 120,000-plus British residents of the UAE, around 100,000 of whom live in Dubai.
   
The bustling tourist hub is hugely popular with Britons. Dubai hosts hundreds of thousands of Western residents and tourists, but the city state still adheres to certain strict Islamic rules, and bans sex out of wedlock.
   
A British embassy spokesman declined to comment on the sentence, but said the case did not appear to have scared off Britons from coming to the UAE.
   
"We can't interfere in the judicial process of other countries, much as we don't expect other countries to interfere in ours," Simon Goldsmith told AFP.
   
Asked if the case had had any impact on Dubai's popularity among Britons, he said: "Around a million visitors from the UK come to the UAE every year. We haven't seen anything to suggest a change in those numbers."
 

Date created : 2008-10-16

Comments

COMMENT(S)