x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Code aims to clarify laws on decency and public behaviour

A set of rules clarifying what constitutes inappropriate behaviour in public has been issued by the Dubai government.

DUBAI // A set of rules clarifying what constitutes inappropriate behaviour in public has been issued by the Dubai government. Nudity, kissing, dancing, holding hands and playing loud music have been included in guidelines over inappropriate behaviour, according to the Arabic daily newspaper, Al Emarat Al-Youm. The rules have been sent to all government departments and private companies in Dubai emirate. It is not known if this is the first time such a code has been issued.

Being under the influence of alcohol outside designated areas is also prohibited according to the rules. Any breach of the guidelines could result in imprisonment, the newspaper said. Last July a British expatriate, Michelle Palmer, and a visiting Briton, Vince Acors, were arrested for being drunk and for engaging in sexual intercourse on a beach. The arrests made headlines worldwide and put Dubai's laws and culture into the international spotlight.

Palmer and Acors were found guilty in October of intercourse outside marriage and offending public decency. They were sentenced to three months in prison and also fined Dh1,000 (US$272) for public drunkenness. However, the court of appeals suspended their sentence in November and ordered their deportation. Acors had trouble complying with the order as confusion over his visa status and air ticket meant he was stopped at the airport three times. Both returned to the UK in December last year.

After the incident, the municipality stepped up beach patrols and put up warning signs to make people more aware of what constituted appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. In April last year two women, from Lebanon and Bulgaria, were found guilty of kissing, and indecent public acts on a beach between Dubai and Sharjah. They were both jailed for one month. amcmeans@thenational.ae