Kissing-case woman in jail in Dubai as funds run out

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The Independent Online

A British woman convicted of kissing in public in Dubai was in jail today after running out of money for her appeal bid, diplomatic sources said.

Charlotte Adams, 25, was arrested with Ayman Najafi, 24, last November in the Gulf resort after a woman complained they had been seen kissing on the mouth in a restaurant, breaching Dubai's strict decency laws.

Adams, an estate agent, and Najafi denied the case but were sentenced to a month in jail by a court earlier this month.

Despite continuing to insist they had given each other only a peck on the cheek, her plans to appeal were dropped this week after she ran out of "time and money", the diplomatic source said.

She added: "She has chosen not to receive consular assistance and it is our understanding she has dropped her appeal."

Najafi, from north London, is understood to be continuing his fight against the conviction after being backed by his employers.

He is hoping to appeal to the court of cassation but if his conviction stands, he will be deported at the end of his sentence.

The pair were originally sentenced last month when a judge at Dubai's misdemeanours court heard written evidence from the 38-year-old mother who complained to police.

She said she was offended by their behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her daughter.

The judge dismissed Najafi's claim he had merely kissed Miss Adams on the cheek and sentenced both to a month in jail followed by deportation. But the pair were bailed pending appeals.

Najafi has been working for marketing firm Hay Group in Dubai for about 18 months.

Foreign Office advice for Britons going to the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, warns travellers to be wary of breaching local customs.

A statement on the FCO website reads: "Britons can find themselves facing charges relating to cultural differences, such as using bad language, rude gestures or public displays of affection."

In 2008, two Britons accused of having sex on the beach were sentenced to three months in jail, although their sentences were later suspended.