Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Dubai court: Egyptian actress denies attacking American family

Actress Zeina and her sister say the tourists were recording them while having dinner at Atlantis The Palm hotel

Egyptian actress Zeina denies assaulting a family during her stay at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. AFP 
Egyptian actress Zeina denies assaulting a family during her stay at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. AFP 

An Egyptian film star accused of assaulting an Arab-American family while on holiday in Dubai, denied the attack during a court hearing on Tuesday.

At Dubai Court of Misdemeanours, actress Zeina, 38, and her sister, 41, each denied physically assaulting and insulting a man, his wife and daughter – whom she said were filming her while she was having dinner at Atlantis The Palm.

“I swear to God that these people are not telling the truth. I am a famous actress and I would not attack anyone,” Zeina said in court.

According to court records, the celebrity and her sister screamed at the family using “very strong language” and physically fought with them after they accused the family of taking videos of them.

A report from the criminal laboratory, submitted to the court, revealed that no videos or pictures of the actress were found on the mobile phone belonging to the daughter, 12.

The tourist, 48, and his wife, 44, were also charged with physically assaulting the actress and her sister and insulting them publicly. On Tuesday, the man denied the charges but his wife did not attend court.

The man said that on June 29 last year, he and his family were in a bar inside the hotel when he heard someone screaming at his daughter in Arabic, calling her an animal. He approached the woman, Zeina, and told her his daughter did not speak Arabic.

“I told her that my daughter was born and raised in the US. I told her it was inappropriate to scream like that using such words, but she shifted to English and cursed all of us, accusing my daughter of filming her,” he said.

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A fight broke out and police arrested everyone involved, taking them to Al Barsha station where Zeina’s sister told officers that six people had been taking photos of them at the hotel.

Emirati lawyer Awatif Mohammed, who is representing the tourist and his wife, called on the court to drop charges against the family, saying there was no evidence to suggest that they attacked the actress.

Ms Awatif also requested that charges against the actress and her sister be amended to include threatening to commit an indecent public act and physically assaulting her clients’ daughter.

“A legal translation of the insults indicate that the [actress and her sister] threatened to subject my client and his wife to an indecent act, which is punishable by a minimum of six months in prison and deportation,” said Ms Awatif.

She also said prosecutors had overlooked a medical report that indicated the daughter suffered scratches on her left arm and swelling of the right temple after being attacked by the pair.

“A medical report from Rashid Hospital proving the daughter had been assaulted is available and, despite that, prosecutors did not press assault charges against the actress and her sister,” said Ms Awatif.

The lawyer representing Zeina and her sister, Mahmoud Azab, also called for amendments to the charges.

He requested the court press assault charges against the daughter and add a sexual assault charge against the husband for grabbing Zeina’s sister's breast.

He also submitted a medical report stating his clients suffered bruising as a result of the attack.

“The wife pulled the actress from her hair then she and her daughter assaulted her. She then attacked Zeina's sister and bumped her head into a cement pole,” he said.

Mr Azab also disputed the family's claim that their daughter does not speak Arabic because she is of Syrian origin.

Ms Awatif responded by provided documents indicating that the girl – who is actually of Egyptian descent – was questioned by police and prosecutors through a translator because she does not speak Arabic.

The verdict will be issued on January 24.

Updated: January 8, 2019 05:57 PM

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