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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Two Singaporeans convicted of cross-dressing in Abu Dhabi have jail sentences reduced

Man and transgender woman to be have one year prison term reduced to Dh10,000 fine and deportation

Two Singaporeans who were sentenced to one year in prison for cross-dressing had their charges reduced on Sunday to a fine and deportation by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

Fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Abdul Rahman, 26, and Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, 37, were arrested on August 9 in a shopping centre “for wearing women's clothes in public and for behaving indecently", according to court documents.

They were sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty by an Abu Dhabi court.

On Sunday, an official told The National that the charges had been reduced to a Dh10,000 fine and deportation for both.

Nur Ibrahim is a transgender woman who legally changed her name in her home country but has yet to undergo a sex-change operation.

Muhammad Rahman, who is male, arrived in the country for work the day before the arrest. Nur, also known among family and friends as Fifi, was accompanying him on the trip.

A spokesperson for Singapore's ministry of foreign affairs said officials from the embassy met both Singaporeans on August 23, while also attending their bail hearing.

"This was the embassy’s fourth meeting with the two Singaporeans since their arrest. The first meeting took place on the same day the embassy was notified of their case on August 10," said the spokesperson.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore said the embassy will "continue to provide the necessary consular assistance and has been closely monitoring developments to ensure that due process is accorded to them". It is in close contact with the families of the two Singaporeans.

The spokesperson reminded Singaporeans to "respect and abide by the local laws when they travel overseas”.

Article 358 of the UAE penal code criminalises "indecent attire" as an act of public indecency.