A British woman and Pakistani man have been jailed for having consensual sex in the United Arab Emirates. The pair met on Facebook and were in contact for three years before she flew to the UAE to stay with him for a week in 2016.
While she was on that trip, the two had consensual sex. Having sex outside of marriage is strictly prohibited in the country.
According to Gulf News, the British woman is due to marry another man in London. She and the Pakistani man are both filing appeals in the hope of getting out of their one-year sentence.
The man claimed that when the woman visited, he picked her up from the airport in Dubai before driving her to a flat in Sharjah.
He said that they were married ‘verbally’ by a Pakistani religious scholar, but the woman denies that this happened. In her court statement, the woman claims she called off her affair with the man because she was getting married to someone else in London.
However, she said, the man then threatened to shame her, post photos of the two of them together on Facebook, and to tell her family that she was already married to him. She added that the man threatened to kill her if she married someone else.
After receiving the alleged threatening messages, the woman and her father flew to Dubai to file a complaint against the man. The man was subsequently arrested.
During an interrogation the man denied sending her threatening messages, and instead told police that she had told him her family was pressuring her to stay away from him.
But in the course of their investigations, police in Dubai discovered that the couple had had consensual sex while unmarried in Sharjah in 2016.
The Dubai Misdemeanours Court sentenced the man and woman to a year in prison each for their crimes, followed by deportation. Both the man and woman have pleaded not guilty, and have appealed the ruling seeking leniency.