The British Embassy in Dubai has updated its dos and don’t list for expats in the Emirate after a series of issues including two Brits being jailed for kissing in a restaurant.
It warns that if people ignore the advice they face possible arrest and imprisonment for a number of things that would be deemed perfectly acceptable in the UK.
The list warns against dancing, kissing or holding hands in public, having sex even in your own hotel room if you are not married, as well as swearing, using drugs and drinking in public.
Drinking in Dubai is only allowed in licensed restaurants, pubs, clubs and private venues, while sexual relationships outside marriage are illegal including unmarried people sharing a hotel room.
Dancing in public is classed as indecent and even kissing and hugging in public is considered ’provocative’ and could lead to arrest. In March, Britons Charlotte Adams, 26, and Ayman Najafi, 24, were jailed for kissing in a restaurant in Dubai. Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were jailed in 2008 after having sexual relations on a beach in Dubai.
Holding hands for married couples is tolerated but kissing and hugging is considered an offence against public decency. An open display of affection amongst couples is not acceptable, the list warns.
A Foreign Office spokesman said the list was reviewed from time to time. It is common sense advice intended to keep Britons out of trouble, he said.
It also warns those on holiday to be aware of the rules. Sexual relationships outside of marriage are illegal, irrespective of any relationship you may have with your partner in the UK. While the UAE attracts many thousands of British tourists every year to their hotels and resorts, be aware, if you come to the attention of the police authorities, even in a hotel while on holiday, you will be arrested for co-habiting,’ the website says.
The list also points out that drinking and driving in Dubai is illegal and you can be charged and imprisoned if you are caught with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system. Tailgating, speeding, racing, lane jumping, or using a mobile phone while driving, are also against the law in Dubai. There are numerous speed cameras on the roads and motorways. Fines in the UAE are heavy. If you are caught you may also face the possibility of having your car impounded.
The rules also apply to neighbouring Abu Dhabi. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory. Jaywalking is also illegal and the police, particularly in Abu Dhabi, have recently launched a campaign against jay walking. If you are caught committing this offence you could be subject to a fine.
Sexual harassment or randomly addressing women in public, or taking their photos without permission, is strictly frowned upon and offensive language, spitting and aggressive behavior, including hand gestures, is also unacceptable.
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