British woman goes to jail in Dubai kissing case
Published 21/04/2010 | 11:54
Charlotte Adams, a British woman convicted of kissing in public in Dubai, has been taken to jail after dropping her attempts to appeal against the ruling.
Miss Adams, 26, told friends she could no longer afford to fight the case or waste any more time stuck in Dubai, where her passport was taken away pending the outcome of the case.
She was accused of kissing Ayman Najafi, a British friend who lives in Dubai, while visiting the emirate last November.
The pair denied the case, saying they had given each other a peck on the cheek as a greeting in a restaurant in the Jumeirah Beach Residences complex.
A kiss of greeting does not contravene the emirate's strict public behaviour codes.
"Charlotte didn't have the time or resources to appeal again," Mr Najafi said today. "It's not an admission of guilt. She just had no chance – if she had an income and resources she would have fought on."
The couple were at Bob's Easy Diner at 2am in the early hours of November 27 when their kiss was seen by the children of an Emirati woman sitting on a nearby table.
She reported them to police and they were arrested, charged and found guilty even though prosecution lawyers were unable to make contact with the woman and ask her to give evidence. They were sentenced to a month in jail, and fined for being in public after consuming alcohol.
Their appeal was rejected earlier this month. Mr Najafi is hoping to appeal to the Court of Cassation – Dubai's highest court – on the grounds that the appeal court refused to hear evidence from a witness he wanted to call in his defence.
But he said he was still considering whether that was worth the extra cost and the four to five months a final appeal and rehearing would cost.
"I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I have an income," he said. "But though it's very difficult to accept I'm just weighing it up now.
"I know I have a chance but it's a hard call. There's no point in putting that time and those resources into it if I'm still not going to get a fair trial."
Mr Najafi works for a consultancy firm, which has kept his job and encouraged him to appeal. If his conviction stands, he will be deported at the end of his sentence.
He said Miss Adams, an estate agent from north London, was not looking forward to her sentence. "It was a bit of a shock," he said. "She's probably one of the only British people inside. But I think she's handling it quite well."