View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jail for Sex on the Beach and Fine for Drinking Alcohol in UAE

According to AFP, a Dubai court on Thursday (16 October 2008) sentenced two Britons to three months in prison and ordered their subsequent deportation after they were convicted of having sex on the beach.

The judge also fined them 1000 dirham (272 dollars) each for drinking alcohol.

Issues In Focus
The much reported ‘Sex on the Beach’ case has highlighted the difference in cultures between the UAE and certain western countries. The drawn out legal affair has tarnished Dubai’s popularity as a tourist destination and left many prospective tourists with some questions and fear.

The case has brought to light the confusion of standards and values in the UAE, especially with Dubai’s bars and night life that is attractive to tourists and which tends to be often ignored by the police.

Dearth of Information for Tourists
There is a dearth of information about customs and laws in the UAE including the differences between the emirates such as is the case in the more conservative emirate of Sharjah.

As a country that often bills itself as a playground for tourists, the UAE must present clear and comprehensive information about the distinctive legalities especially to do with appropriate dress, consuming alcohol, Ramadan eating and drinking laws and single people being in the presence of members of the opposite sex.

Some UAE Information for Tourists and New Residents:
What to Wear in the UAE?
Etiquette in the Emirates
Drug Laws in the UAE: Travellers Beware!
The UAE and the Law
UAE Information: Essential Guide for New Residents to the Emirates

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One example of Dubai’s bars and night life.