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Stripping down the laws
A man in Dubai has been sentenced to a month in jail for wearing a cancer awareness t-shirt that featured an almost nude Victoria Beckham.
June 21, 2009 9:59 by Aarti Nagraj
A Lebanese man in Dubai has been sentenced to one month in jail followed by deportation for wearing a cancer awareness t-shirt featuring a nearly naked Victoria Beckham, reports The National. The Dubai Court of Appeals charged him with offending public decency.
The 28-year-old was reportedly stopped at a bakery in Dubai last year by an Arab man, who questioned him about his t-shirt, which showed a nearly nude Beckham with the slogan “Protect the Skin You’re In.”
The two argued, and after the accused left to change his shirt, the police were called and charged him with three accounts; drunkenness, fleeing the scene of a conflict and offending public decency. The first two charges have since been dropped, says the report.
The shirts were designed by Marc Jacobs for a cancer awareness campaign.
We have asked the police for a comment and are still waiting for a response.
Laws regarding public behavior in Dubai came to light when a British couple was arrested for having sex on a public beach last year.
It was followed by media reports earlier this year that claimed that the Dubai Executive Council had launched a campaign against what it considers inappropriate behavior in public. According to the reports, playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing, holding hands and being under the influence of alcohol in public will be considered offenses, and may result in jail time and fines.
Wearing revealing clothing in public, including short skirts and shirts that expose shoulders, will also be considered offenses, the council said.
Last week, the British Foreign Office launched a campaign urging British nationals to dress appropriately and respect local customs when overseas on holiday. The office warned that there have been several cases of British nationals being charged with indecent public exposure while on vacation, reported the Telegraph.
Research by the office found that half of all British women who sunbathe topless risk prosecution, and that one in seven men admitted to having had sex in a public place on holiday.
Some of the instructions given include: “Rude gestures in Dubai are considered to be an obscene act and offenders can be prosecuted,” and “topless sunbathing in Abu Dhabi is forbidden and liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.”
The latest incident again highlights the struggle that Dubai seems to be facing: being a cosmopolitan city with traditional Islamic laws. With more cases of “public indecency” making headlines, is the emirate trying to prove a point? And will the negative publicity prove to be detrimental to Dubai’s image?
June 21, 2009 | Cover Story
June 21, 2009