Brit Questioned Over Indecency in Dubai

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
August 5, 2010 Updated: August 5, 2010

[xtypo_dropcap]D[/xtypo_dropcap]UBAI, United Arab Emirates—A British woman stripped down to her bikini and walked through a five-star mall in Dubai, after being criticized for wearing a low-cut dress.

The woman, who has not been named, was detained by mall security and questioned by police, an official said.

Dubai is the most cosmopolitan city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but has strict rules over public decency that recently had two Britons sentenced to a month in jail for kissing in public.

The woman, who was in Dubai on a vacation, was approached by a conservatively dressed emirati woman while shopping at Dubai Mall and criticized for wearing a low-cut dress.

The British woman was reported to have told the woman to mind her own business, then stripped down to her bikini and walked through the mall.

Both women were detained by mall security, and police were called. After questioning, both women were released.

No formal arrests were made, and no charges have been laid.

A spokesman for the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that they were aware that the woman was released.

“The U.K. cannot interfere in the judicial procedures of another country just as other countries cannot interfere in our own judicial system,” the spokesman said.

The Dubai Mall, one of the largest in the world, contains public notices asking that customers dress respectfully in public.

The incident is not the first time Britons have fallen foul of the UAE’s indecency laws.

Charlotte Adams was jailed for a month earlier this year for kissing Ayman Najafi in a restaurant. A local woman said she had seen them stroking each other’s backs and kissing on the lips.

In July 2008, Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer were jailed for three months for having sex on a public beach, although their sentenced was later suspended.

The FCO warns Britons about local laws on its travel advisory on Dubai.

"You should respect local traditions, customs, laws, and religions at all times, and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs,” the FCO said on its website.

“Women should dress modestly when in public areas, such as shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.

"Public displays of affection are frowned upon and there have been several arrests for kissing in public."