How a Kiss Landed Two Britons in Dubai Dock

Article excerpt

Byline: Arthur Martin

A BRITISH woman facing jail for kissing a man in public in Dubai insisted yesterday that she 'only pecked him on the cheek'.

Charlotte Adams, 25, and Ayman Najafi, a British marketing executive, have both been convicted of indecency and illegal drinking.

During an appeal hearing in Dubai yesterday, the pair admitted they were drunk but denied passionately kissing and touching each other in public.

Their lawyer, Khalaf al Hasani, told the judge that they shared a peck on the cheek, which 'is a normal greeting in their culture and not a crime'.

Miss Adams and Mr Najafi were arrested at a busy burger restaurant after a 38-year-old local woman claimed she spotted them kissing on the lips and stroking each others backs.

At a court hearing last week, both were sentenced to a month in jail and told they would then be deported upon release. They were also fined [pounds sterling]180 for drinking alcohol.

But the prison sentence was put on hold pending yesterday's appeal. The pair are expected to appear in court again on April 4 for a verdict on their appeal.

Mr Najafi, 24, of Palmers Green, north London, has been working in Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, for the past 18 months for marketing firm Hay Group.

Miss Adams, who is also from north London, is believed to have travelled to the Muslim state for a holiday.

The case once again highlights the problems that can face the thousands of British tourists who take sunshine breaks in Dubai each year. Unmarried men and women from the West are finding that kissing and cuddling is prohibited, particularly in public, and carries stringent penalties.

Miss Adams and Mr Najafi were having dinner with six friends in November at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, a stretch of beachside cafes, when they were arrested.

Yesterday, lawyer Mr al Hasani told Dubai's Court of Appeal that the prosecution's main witness was not sure of what she had seen and had changed her story.

'The story came to light after an Emirati woman, who was with her children having a meal in the restaurant, saw the pair,' he said. …