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Dive instructor released from Sharjah jail

A South African diving instructor has been pardoned by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah after being jailed on charges of having sex outside marriage...

July 26, 2009 1:40 by

A South African diving instructor has been pardoned by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah after being jailed on charges of having sex outside marriage, reported South Africa-based daily Beeld.

Roxanne Hillier, 22, was released on Thursday, July 23, a month shy of her three-month sentence period.

She was arrested on May 16 at a dive center in Khor Fakkan. Hillier was asleep in a room in the center while her Emirati boss, 40 year old MH, worked in another section of the building.

Both were arrested and charged with having sex and being alone in a business facility at night.

MH was sentenced to six months in jail, and Hillier was given a three month sentence.

MH was released in June after he successfully appealed the ruling; Hillier’s appeal, however, was denied.

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  1. MIr on July 27, 2009 7:09 am

    If the same thing may have done by a Filpino, Indian, Pakistani, Chinees or any third world country people, can they be pardoned? No way.
    There is always second degree treatment given to others while as Europians, English and others get freed even the intensity of the crime is high.
    There should be a fair treatment for all

  2. Demi on July 27, 2009 7:48 am

    I agree with MIr.
    Quick question- why has Kipp stated “and being alone in a business facility at night” as part of the reason they were arrested? A lot of people in companies do work late into the night- will they be arrested as well? Kipp needs to sort out their articles before publishing. This is not a school to let your errors go unnoticed by your editorial team. Be professional.

  3. Fatema on July 27, 2009 7:56 am

    How come the Hillier’s name was mentioned and the Emarati’s name was concealed???..
    Fair treatment doesn’t exist in this country, be it for anything, jail sentences, identity or anything else!..

  4. Kipp on July 27, 2009 7:57 am

    Dear Demi,

    “Being alone in a business facility at night” was one of the official reasons provided by the Sharjah police for the duo’s arrest.


  5. Will on July 27, 2009 8:49 am

    You all seem to be missing the point here. How can the Emirati get let off and the European woman still be charged? Surely you need two people for it to be a crime? They can either both be guilty or both be innocent. Any other result is ridiculous and obviously blatant bias by the courts towards the Emirati.

  6. Dina A. Hafez on July 27, 2009 9:56 am

    I think it is unfair to mention in the article the full name of the lady and just a two letter initial for the man, either mention names for both or initials for both.

  7. Shehab Ahmed on July 27, 2009 1:03 pm

    I would like to take a diving lessons? Anybody will join me to khor Fakkan?

  8. Freddie Hillier on July 28, 2009 7:31 am

    Dear All,
    As Roxanne’s father, allow me to clarify some points here. Roxanne and her boss were charged, convicted and sentenced for:
    1. Being alone in the same room or building.
    2. Having sex out of wedlock.
    She got 3 months (apparently because she is single)
    He got 6 months (apparently because he is or was married)
    At the appeal court he was acquitted on the charge of having sex with her, but she was convicted on both charges (they think she had sex with him, but he did not have sex with her) huh???
    Why was her name mentioned and not his. Because I gave her name to the papers, as we have nothing to hide. I refused and still will refuse to give his name. He was also innocent her and needs to rebuild his life again in the UAE, Roxanne is out. Thank God.
    Why was he acquitted and she not? Very good question!! The medical tests were negative. All I can say is that the judicial system in Khorfakkan failed Roxanne. They wanted to convict someone so she had to take the punishment. They classed her as a Muslim in the statements, when she is in fact a Christian. Was this to show that she knew the laws and needed to be punished?? Bail denied four times???? What kind of justice system is this?? The poor girls who don’t have money, or facebook support pages, or petitions, or the caring outside world supporting them, feel the full brunt of this ludicrous system and remain behind bars longer. They are found guilty, whether they are or not..
    Kind regards,

    Freddie Hillier

  9. J Krishnan Nair on July 30, 2009 4:54 pm

    Dear Mr. Freddie Hillier. I salute your courage and your stand – both in taking up the issue and in being open and honest about it.

    Unfortunately UAE judiciary needs a lot of “growing up” and freeing up. Gone are the days when a country could say – this is our land, this is our rule. Rules should be compulsorily made match the rational senses of a modern world.

    China now allows more sexual freedom and India is proposing to allow gay and lesbian marriages. Arab culture is not older to Chinese or Indian. So hiding behind ‘cultural norms’ should stop.

    Further there should be equality in treatment. Why are Asian and African men and women never pardoned? COLOUR?

  10. Freddie Hillier on July 30, 2009 8:50 pm

    Hi J Krishnan,
    Thank you and the others for your kind words. I believe that everyone must respect other people’s religion and culture. We taught our daughters to respect everybody irrespective of religion, colour, culture, wealth, social standing, etc. Believe me, they do. What has happened here is an indication of just how far backwards the justice system in the UAE is. They hide behind religion when it suits them and even then there are no set guidelines or standard. To come to your question “Why are Asian and African men and women never pardoned?” I do not think that colour is the issue here. I think (and this is only my opinion) that if you are not as fortunate as Roxanne was, to have family that could afford a lawyer, friends and strangers who are loving and caring and speak out,a facebook support page, a petition and the media to highlight your plight, then you are doomed in the UAE my friend. There are poor (penniless) girls who as you have rightly stated are not pardoned, who receive far more severe sentences for the same alleged crime, or for less. As an example, there was one poor girl (God bless her) who got one year for owning a cellphone and another who got two years for being caught with a photo of a male. That is not justice, it is a violation of ones basic right. They don’t care if you are guilty or not as long as they can convict you, they are happy. They should be put on trial for sending innocent people to jail and they should pay compensation to those whose lives they stuff up.

  11. Mohamed on July 31, 2009 10:58 am

    J K Nair,

    We are not hiding behind ‘cultural norms’, it is Islam which forbids having sex out of marriage. In addition, you are saying India is proposing to allow gay and lesbian marriages, do you think this is good?! regardless of any religion, just common sense if a man getting married to a gay then who is going to deliver a baby!!

  12. phil on October 12, 2009 7:12 am

    I didn’t see anything in the above that the unfortunatge girl is white. Where was that written? She is not European, she is African. Maybe she is white, maybe not. There are quite a few blacks in South Africa too.

    But the sane and brave voice in all this comes from Mr Hillier.

  13. sheng on October 12, 2009 2:44 pm

    I’ve been working In the UAE particularly in a Law firm, I know a lot of stories regarding the same plight, i wish there is a “Compalin Desk” where you can complain for putting people behind bars for unreasonable issues’ the thing is UAE needs more laws. a matured system I supposed..but again,let us respect the sensitivity of this country, it is indeed a Muslim country..they are trying to make everyone safe and with only 10% of locals they need our coordinate ,to abide and to be patient..among other countries,still UAE is 1 of the safest city on earth…


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