Yesterday, while wandering through Westside Market in Cleveland, I passed by several stalls laden with baked goods, some sporting poppy seed. The poppy seed strudel was mighty tempting. This brought to mind the sidebar I saw that was attached to the article about Michelle Palmer’s and Vince Acors escape from jail time in Dubai after they allegedly had sex on the beach.
Before Palmer and Acor’s legal woes in Dubai, there was an earlier account about how people who bring poppy seeds into the UAE can also meet serious trouble. There could be trouble even if there are only a few seeds dribbled on a coat after eating a bagel before heading off to Dubai. Iva posted on that very situation back in February. There was one Swiss person who had eaten a bagel with poppy seeds and was arrested.
While eyeing the poppy seed strudel and thinking how yummy it looked, I also remembered that poppy seeds are not allowed in Singapore either. At least, you couldn’t buy them when I lived there in the 1990s. Perhaps Singapore has loosened up, but I think not.
The issue with poppy seeds is the same issue in Dubai. Instead of baking with poppy seeds, people could just get a notion to turn them into opium. The thing is, from what I understand, opium is not made from poppy seeds, but from the unripe poppy seed pod. Eating poppy seeds, however, can result in a false positive for the drug. Tricky.
Because this is an older story, I checked the U.S. Department of State page on UAE to see if poppy seeds are still banned. Yes, they are. I looked on Singapore’s page to see if I could find out about poppy seeds. I couldn’t find a reference to them, but the don’ts in Singapore is a mighty hefty list.
Remember the names Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors? They are the two Brits who weren’t really a couple until they met at a champagne brunch in Dubai, got drunk, and then proceeded to get frisky on a beach. Before that party, they didn’t know each other. After they became better acquainted after a cocktail or two, or who knows how many, their friskiness got them much international attention and jail time.
I sort of stood up for Ms. Palmer in an earlier post this summer before all the news came out that perhaps she had been warned by the police to stop her frolicking with Mr. Acors because what they were doing looked a like having sex. Instead of listening to the men in blue, or whatever colors the police wear in Dubai, she kept on with her male companion, who from the sounds of it, had about as much sense as she did. The two have claimed innocence to the sex part. Kissing? Yes. Nookie? No.
Regardless of what really went on, as Josh later posted these two were given a three-month sentence. I found out at Jaunted that these two are leaving Dubai after avoiding jail time. Instead of jail, their behavior will cost each them the equivalent of $272 and deportation. [Here’s an L.A. Times article with more info.]
That’s not such a bad amount of money, but I bet neither of them will look at an expanse of sand the same way again.
And for the rest of you who feel like a bit of friskiness on the beach, it can get you jail time. Really. Even in the U.S., sex on the beach can get you in trouble. If not jail time, there may be a world of embarrassment in your future.
It has not been a good summer for Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors. The couple’s seaside tryst has turned into a courtroom drama complete with medical evidence and appeals. The two British citizens, despite the best efforts of their lawyers, and despite the black-eye it will give to Dubai’s tourist industry, have been sentenced to three months in prison. Their lawyer claims that an appeal is possible. The three month sentence (followed by immediate deportation) is much lighter than the six years possible under the emirate’s laws.
If this was an isolated incident, perhaps caused by an over-zealous prosecutor, it wouldn’t be more than tabloid fodder. However, as Jerry pointed out here at Gadling a couple of weeks ago, this is not an isolated case. Even carrying the natural, over the counter sleep aid Melatonin is reason enough to get you in trouble with the authorities in Dubai.
Palmer and Acors will be in jail for three months. Then, they’ll be deported, and most likely get their 15 minutes of fame. Perhaps Palmer can even turn the whole experience into a book deal or sell the rights to a movie studio. Dubai, on the other hand, will have to overcome the negative press it received from this case, and all the other cases that this one has brought attention too.