Woman drowns in Dubai after father blocks rescue to save her from ‘dishonour’

© AFP / Karim Sahib (file photo) | Beachgoers in Dubai on May 21, 2012

A father let his 20-year-old daughter drown off a beach in Dubai by preventing lifeguards from rescuing her because he did not want her to be touched by a strange man, Emirati news media reported Monday.


Correction: This story, which came from an article published by Emirates 24/7 on August 9, in fact dates back to an incident that happened in 1996, according to British newspaper the Guardian. Read our updated story here.

The father had taken his wife and kids to the beach for a picnic, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Burqibah, deputy director of Dubai police's search and rescue department, told Emirates 24/7. The children were swimming when the daughter got into trouble and screaming for help.

When two lifeguards went to help the woman, her father, described as a “tall and strong” Asian man, "started pulling and preventing the rescue men and got violent with them", said Colonel Burqibah.

“He told them that he prefers his daughter being dead than being touched by a strange man” believing that “if these men touched his daughter, then this would dishonour her”, Colonel Burqibah told the website.

He said he believed the woman probably would have lived if the father had not intervened.

“She died unfortunately, at a time when she had a chance to live, especially that the rescue men were so close to her to pull her out of the water,” he said.

The father was later arrested by Dubai Police for stopping the rescue team from saving his daughter’s life and doing their job, Emirates 24/7 reported.

Though Dubai has become a popular destination for both expats and holidaymakers from all over the world, it is still a predominantly conservative Muslim country.

Kissing and petting in public are against decency laws, sex outside marriage is illegal and public nudity can be punished by imprisonment or deportation.

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