A British woman, who was convicted of indecency for kissing a friend in a Dubai restaurant, has decided to abandon her appeal and serve her month-long prison sentence so she can “get on with” her life.
Charlotte Adams, 26, an estate agent from North London who went to Dubai for a holiday, lost an appeal against her conviction, together with British national Ayman Najafi, 24, on April 4.
They both claim that they had merely kissed each other on the cheek as a greeting in an American diner in the early hours of November 27 but a local woman said they were embracing passionately.
A judge sitting at Dubai”s Criminal Court upheld their sentence of a months” imprisonment and also ordered that management consultant Najafi, who has lived in Dubai for 18 months and works for the Hay Group, be deported afterwards along with Adams.
Both now have 30 days to decide whether they want to appeal to Dubai”s highest legal authority, the Court of Cassation.
But in chaotic scenes outside the hearing, a tearful Adams, who attended court in a revealing white shirt and figure-hugging black skirt, told her lawyer she wanted to serve her sentence and leave Dubai “as soon as possible”.
“I want to go to jail straightaway so I can get on with my life,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
“I”m stuck in this country, I can”t work, I don”t have any money. If, after 30 days, I appeal and it”s turned down, I”m going to be in exactly the same position as I am now and I will still have to serve a sentence.
“I just want to serve the 30 days and go. Ayman can appeal but I just want the 30 days,” she stated.
Najafi, whose family live in Palmers Green, North London, was dressed more soberly in a dark grey suit and white stripy shirt.
The pair, who insists they have never been romantically involved, was arrested after meeting with four other friends for dinner at the 1950-style Bob”s Easy Diner in the seafront Jumeirah Beach Resort.
A 38-year-old Emirati woman told police she had seen them kissing and touching each other intimately, but later changed her story, saying that only her children had seen them.
Authorities have subsequently been unable to contact the woman but proceeded with the prosecution on the grounds that the pair had committed a “crime against society”.
The pair”s lawyer, Khalaf al-Hosany, said he would encourage them both to appeal again but that Adams was losing patience.
“They are feeling very shocked, it is a very bad situation but it is what the judge decided so what can we do?” he said.
“I will advise them to appeal because there is always a chance but it is their decision.
“Ayman wants to take the chance. This is very bad for him because he is working here for a big company with a good job, he wants to stay in Dubai and he wants the court to recognise that he is innocent. I will do my best to help him to achieve that.
“Charlotte wants to leave. She is here on a visitors” visa, she was just a tourist and wants to go home,” he said.
He said that if the pair accepts their sentences, they will serve them at Dubai”s Central Prison.
While more modern than some others in the United Arab Emirates, it has been described by former inmates as severely overcrowded, with prisoners often sleeping eight to a cell.
The two previously admitted another offence of being in a public place after consuming alcohol – although they were under the UK drink drive limit – and paid fines of 1,000 dirhams.
During the short appeal hearing in a packed courtroom, the judge spoke entirely in Arabic and rapidly dismissed the appeal without hearing from Adams, Najafi or their lawyer.
It was left to al-Hosany to explain to the bewildered pair outside of the court that their conviction had been upheld.
Professor John Strawson, an expert in Islamic law, told BBC Radio 5 Live, that the Dubai authorities had previously turned a blind eye altogether to Westerners” misdemeanours but had recently tightened their morality laws.
“The problem in this particular case is that one of the British citizens is of Muslim origin,” he said.
“And I think that the combination of the alleged kissing and the consumption of alcohol in an illegal place, meant that this was a case that the authorities really wanted to pursue, and they are probably sticking to their rigid interpretation of the law,” he added.