DUBAI – A dozen women posing completely naked on the balcony of a penthouse in a Dubai skyscraper were filmed in a video that quickly went around the world on the web and also triggered a series of arrests. The video was shot Saturday in broad daylight and frames the balcony of a building in the elegant Marina district.
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Great shock to the authorities of the United Arab Emirates which, despite having very liberal laws in many respects compared to other Gulf countries, prohibit drinking alcohol in public without a specific permit or kissing publicly and sharing pornographic content: all crimes against the public decency liable to imprisonment.
Of the people arrested, we read on Sky News, neither the identities nor the nationalities and even the precise number are known. But we know that they will have to answer for the crime of “debauchery”.
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According to the state newspaper The National, the images of women could be a “publicity stunt”, but the newspaper did not specify. “Such unacceptable behavior – said the police – does not reflect the values and ethics of Emirati society”. The UAE has strict laws on free expression. Cases of people jailed for their online comments and videos are not uncommon, while major state-owned telecommunications companies block access to pornographic websites.
Violations of the public decency law, including nudity and alleged “obscene behavior”, lead to sentences of up to six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (about $ 1,350). Sharing material deemed pornographic is also punishable by imprisonment and heavy fines under the laws, based on Islamic law or Shariah. In the Emirates, behaviors such as kissing in public or drinking alcohol without a license have also led to prison.