Sex scandals and Dubai
The recent arrest of Sally Antia, a British expatriate in Dubai, for having an extra marital affair, is just one of the numerous sex-related cases in the emirate in the last year.
June 5, 2009 9:08 by kippreport
Sally Antia, a 44-year-old British expatriate in Dubai, and her 43-year-old boyfriend Mark Hawkins, also a British national, were sentenced recently to two months in jail after Antia’s husband, Vincent Antia, complained to the local police that she was having an affair. Antia and her boyfriend Mark Hawkins, who flew in from Britain to spend a week with her, were arrested on May 2 while leaving the Radisson SAS hotel in Deira. Both be deported after the prison term.
According to British media reports, Sally Antia is having a tough time in prison. Her husband claimed he attempted to withdraw his complaint but was told it was too late.
“I did ask to withdraw my complaint on May 3 but was told that the government wished to proceed with the case and it was out of my hands,” he said in a statement.
The case has been big news in the UK press, especially since it emerged soon after another British woman was jailed for adultery in Dubai.
Marnie Pearce, a 40-year-old British national, was jailed for three months in March this year after her Egyptian husband, Ihab El Labban, accused her of having an affair. Pearce, who denied the allegations, claimed that her husband framed the charges in order to get custody of their two young sons.
Although she was supposed to be deported after serving the prison term, she was later pardoned and has been allowed to stay in the UAE in order to fight for custody of her children.
Videos of her tearful separation from her children were viewed across the world, and many petitions were signed campaigning for her release: the Sunday Mirror, a UK weekly paper, and Amnesty International both ran campaigns to free her.
But the one case that caught the world’s attention was the ‘sex on the beach’ incident in July 2008.
Michelle Palmer, a resident of Dubai, and UK-based Vince Acors were accused of engaging in sexual activity outside wedlock in public on Jumeirah beach. Both were sentenced to three months in prison followed by deportation in October. However, in November, the court suspended their jail term, and the two were deported back to Britain.
The two were also fined AED1,000 for drinking alcohol in public.
While there have been sex-related cases in Dubai in the past, very few of them have received such strong public scrutiny. Is it because these cases involved British expatriates? Or is it just that the world is watching Dubai more closely these days?