Jail for two women in Emirates’ first lesbian indecency case

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A Bulgarian woman and her Lebanese partner have been sentenced to one month in jail after being found guilty by a Dubai court of indecent acts.

It is thought to be the first case of its kind in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai’s Court of Appeal upheld the convictions.

The 36-year-old Bulgarian and 30-year-old Lebanese woman will both be deported after they have served their sentences.

7Days newspaper reported that they were spotted kissing and petting on a public beach in April. They both pleaded not guilty to charges they had behaved indecently.

Dubai, one of the seven oil-rich United Arab Emirates, is a popular destination for UK tourists.

While the majority of its 5.6 million residents are foreigners, homosexual relations are still a crime and punishments range from jail to deportation and death penalty.

In July 40 men were arrested in a crackdown on transvestites.

“Any man or woman who dresses up and behaves like the opposite gender in public will be questioned and legal action will be taken against him or her,” Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, said in a statement on the Dubai Police website.

“The 40 transvestites were referred to the Public Prosecution, which issued an administrative deportation order against them. All of those arrested were visitors and tourists and not residents.

“This is against the UAE’s traditions and social values,” he said.

In May Dahi announced that transvestites caught in public would be arrested as part of a new campaign.

He said “transvestites have been seen of late in public places, including shopping malls.”

He said the campaign under the slogan “Our social values are precious.. let’s protect them”, targets those who “do not respect social values and behave like the opposite sex.”