British couple in Dubai faces jail time for kissing

Dubai Creek at nightPDAs (Public Displays of Affection) can make some people a little uncomfortable, but in Dubai, they’ll send you to jail.

Until recently, Dubai was booming. Tourism and business travel were growing at at an exponential rate, and Dubai became a household name-destination seemingly overnight. One of the dangers of a boom like this is that some new visitors think every place has the same rules, and that what’s okay in their own country will be okay in any country. Not so — and if you’re the offender they decide to make an example of, you’re screwed.

The incident in question actually took place last November; a British expat and a female friend were arrested for kissing and “intimate touching,” as well as consuming alcohol, in public. According to Reuters, “the case is the third time in under two years in which Britons have hit the headlines by falling foul of decency laws in Dubai.” Dubai attempted to send the couple to jail for a month and subsequently deport them.

This Sunday, a lawyer for the pair appealed by going whole-hog and saying there wasn’t any kissing. “There was no lip kissing. It was just a normal greeting that is not considered offensive,” lawyer Khalaf al-Hosani told the court, adding that the two in question are “just friends.”

The couple is currently free on bail and have paid their $272 fine for illegal alcohol consumption. The verdict deciding whether or not they’ll go to jail is expected April 4.