Brit couple convicted in Dubai beach sex case vow to appeal

October 17th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by ANI  

London, October 17 (ANI): A Brit couple jailed for three months for having sexual intercourse on a beach in Dubai have vowed to appeal against their sentence, claiming that they are innocent.
Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, were arrested in July with the police claiming that they had been having sex on the public Jumeirah beach.
Judge Hamdi Abul Khair at Dubai’’s Court of First Instance sentenced them to three months imprisonment, fined them 155 pounds each for drinking alcohol, and ordered their deportation after their sentence.
The judge, however, did not specify whether the couple were sentenced for indecent behaviour, or for sex outside marriage.
Palmer and Acors, who were not present for the ruling, reiterated their innocence through their lawyer, who said they were “upset” by the decision and would seek to overturn it.
Both of them will remain on bail in Dubai pending the appeal, which will be lodged after the judge issues a formal explanation of his verdict in two weeks.
“The verdict shows that the judge was convinced that they did not have sexual intercourse but he punished them for the indecent act of kissing (in public). They haven”t been arrested and taken into custody yet, the Telegraph quoted Hassan Mattar, defence lawyer for the pair, as saying.
“I have 15 days to appeal. I have to find the reason why the judge gave three months.
“They are innocent. They are at home in Dubai. I have spoken to them. They are upset,” the lawyer added.
Senior prosecutor Faisal Abdelmalek Ahli, on the other hand, said: “The sentence is rather light. I expect the prosecution to appeal.”
Under the law of the United Arab Emirates, the maximum sentence for sexual intercourse outside of marriage is one year imprisonment and the minimum is three months, and the same applies for committing an indecent act in public.
Ahli said that he expected the Brit couple to serve their full three-month term in Dubai.
“Sometimes people serve half their sentence, but this is so short I expect they will serve it all,” he said.
Friends of Palmer said that the case had left her “a paranoid, scared wreck”, who had been admitted to hospital over panic attacks and depression.
An FCO spokesman said that the pair would receive regular consular visits, and their mental and physical state would be closely monitored. (ANI)

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