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DUBAI: Sex on the beach?

Vince_acors A Muslim emirate is not the best place to mix champagne and beach romance. A British couple is facing up to six years in prison for allegedly having public sex near the surf in Dubai, a split-personality emirate that toys with Western permissiveness but is ruled by Islamic tenets.

The couple -– Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer -– face up to six years in jail for indecency and having unmarried sex. A trial on the charges is expected to begin next week. The British Broadcasting Company quoted Palmer, who was reportedly fired from her job at a publishing house after the incident, as saying:

“We were just kissing and hugging. We didn’t have sex together. I was lying on top of him. I have been to Dubai for 2 1/2 years without committing any kind of offense. I’m sorry.”

Authorities in Dubai -- the flashy, financial hub of the United Arab Emirates -- said the couple met at a champagne brunch, got in a taxi and were arrested on the beach by a policeman who spotted Palmer sitting on Acors with her shirt off.

“The lady is innocent,” Palmer’s lawyer, Hassan Mattar, told the media after the couple appeared in court this week. “The medical reports from the police show she didn’t have sex.”

Foreigners make up about 85% of the UAE's population of 5.6 million, and cultures often collide.

— Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

Photo: Vince Acors, accused of having sex on a Dubai beach. Credit: Reuters

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, as well as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates," and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

Comments () | Archives (62)

Dubai have Strict laws against sexual content, I visited there last year and I prefer to travel to the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic where you can have escorts in beach front villa at charlisangels adult sex vacations where you can enjoy sexual content with hot escorts right on the beach. Visit their site at for more information.

Dubai for a vacation .....
not for sex on a beach......
you dont have a home for having a sex ? LOL

A man and a woman are on a beach in Dubai. They are being intimate. They get arrested because, in Dubai, this is against the Sharia law. You may think, “These people are so dumb! Why would anyone do that in a Sharia country!” “Get a room!” Well, actually, if they were not married, this would also be against the law.

Scenario: You were on the beach with your husband and he stepped away to get some ice tea. You were alone on the beach for not longer than 5 minutes. Enter, a man who sees you alone and approaches to speak to you. Enter, a policeman who is sees you and walks over to question you.

Not only are you uncomfortable because this man has approached you, but you must also feel a little concern that a policeman is questioning you, not just him, or maybe not him at all.

Off the top of your head, you might say, well that is great, because I would feel safe that a policeman is there to protect me from this stranger. But you must also realize that this policeman is not just there to protect you, but he is also there to watch you, to be sure that you are not breaking any laws. Does that feel right? Free?

Such idiotic responses. What a bunch of tools. People going to jail for sex is based on archaic Victorian values you possess because you've been culturally indoctrinated and are too stupid to admit it. If they make enough rules, everyone is guilty.

I've done it and I'll do it again.

As for you indignant jerks who think they should do some time.....they'll get plenty of sex in prison - tied down and bent over a table. And it won't be conventional sex, either. Do you condone anal sex? You must! How dare you!
How disgusting you and your beliefs are to me.

They were idiots! Please. They deserve all they get.

Just wanted to address this fellow AH for saying" That's why I hate being an Arab!" Well wise guy your comment clearly shows how shallow you are, should you've been around the world you could have easily realized that having sex in public places is forbidden in all countries across the globe even in the most liberal countries, but apparently you do not know that. Now my question is, how do you feel if the lady involved was your sister, mother, daughter..or wife! you would love that, won't you! or hate???!!!
So I guess for you it goes down to either being an Arab or fully support having sex in public like dogs!!!If this was socially acceptable, everybody would be doing it!

For the people yelling about religious intolerance: The 'no sex in public' law is always a religious institution, as far as I can tell. Example? For a country with separation of church and state, the US certainly tends to run itself like a theocracy (can't speak for UK, of course). Sex is a natural, irrepressible part of the human condition, and if we could unknot our panties for a minute, maybe we'd realize how silly it is when you consider that animals are running around naked and screwing all the time - and human beings are absolutely nothing but over-analytical animals.

All things considered, any idiot should know better than to get caught doing it in public, wherever they are.

Still, though, the Western in me is a little discouraged that one of the charges is PREMARITAL SEX. A little archaic, I have to believe.

I fully support having the English couple arrested and jailed. Public sex should be a felony here in the U.S. If I ever see a couple having sex in public, I would beat the crap out of them.

Only animal and insane people do the sex in the public with the reason of "Be Kind Religion". Even in Moscow-the communist country--sex in the public is strickly forbiden.So don't change yourself into a puppy by having sex in the public or don't be arrogant with your natinaliy or feel superior with your WASPs--White Anglo Saxon Protestants status.

This is why I hate being an Arab!

The fundamental tension-: Dubai as global playground vs. Dubai as Islamic state-- provides the West with a useful lesson about how political and social change in the Middle East evolve over time. A few decades ago it would have been rare to see a Western woman in Dubai, period.

I am personally offended when some individual think of our society as "NOT backward people" based on the fact that we commit acts of adultry and public indeceny here in the Western world. I think we should honor laws of other societies as we expect others to live by our laws when they are amongst us.
Lets not forget that we act disgusted at the idea of polygamy yet most of us commit adultry. Now, lets get a grip and as our friend said previously, when in Rome, do as Romans do.

----------------------- David -------------------------------

Well, when in Rome do as the Romans do... so, when in the emirates don't sex it up on the beach.

Dubai sounds like a great place for a vacation!!!

"later that evening the pair were found in a compromising position on the beach by a passing policeman.
He reportedly let them off with a caution but, when they were discovered in the same position shortly afterwards, they were arrested.
Miss Palmer is then said to have become aggressive toward the policeman. "

The details left out of the Telegraph report is that Miss Palmer told the policeman to "F--- off you stupid Islamic C**t ", and threated him with her stilletto-heeled shoe.

The happy couple hastily got married while in holding cells so as to mitigate the charge of sex out of wedlock.
These were drunken idiots having sex on a public beach, not just 'kissing and hugging' as reported here.

In fact, the LA Times gives the most distorted coverage of this incident I have read anywhere. I shall be much less likely to give much credence to their reporting in future.

Those people in Arab countries should come see what goes on in European beaches. Oh wait, they do, and then complain in order to change our laws and culture. They are a backwards culture and should open their eyes, you cannot give someone 6 years for making out on a beach. Dubai after all is based on everything that is wrong with capitalism built on greed and slave labor, and now this?? How can you be so against making out on the beach and yet be so in favor of abusing and beating your wife?? Arab culture at its best my friends, call me racist, I don't see it as an insult. The color of their skin or their beliefs in god are not what bothers me, it's their culture.

Way to be objective LA Times, great work.

When this article surfaced around July 9th, the Telegraph reported they were HAVING SEX on the beach, and also after being let off with a warning, THEY IGNORED AND STARTED AGAIN. Back then, they were only complaining about being made examples, nothing about the charges.

This is just a perceived opportunity for so many people to say, "wow, look at those crazy Muslims, they are so backward." I mean seriously, is it so crazy to ask people keep their clothes on, or even more not have sex on a tourist beach?! Muslims are just ridiculous aren't they? (This case hearkens me back to the Singapore caning incident.) From other numerous articles, most British nationals actually sided with Dubai, and regardless of who is telling the truth OBEY THE LAWS. What's the saying, "don't do the crime if you can't do the time?" I think thats how that goes...

And by the way, THEY HAVEN'T BEEN SENTENCED YET. We'll all have to wait and see where this goes. (Grooverider was sentence to 4 years for drugs, and he got off in 6-7 months, so who knows.)

Firstly, the vast majority of the posters here really need to get a grip on all these terms they throw around: "fundamentalism", "muslim morals", "Middle East", "hypocrites", etc. Most people just spew whatever they are hearing from any source, and have no idea about the real situation. Read some books.

Secondly, just because you might have no problem with this behavior does not mean that another country should not. They have the right to make their own laws, whether they are religiously based or not.

Thirdly, we all seem in such a hurry to lump all these countries with any sort of Islamic beliefs into the "Middle East". Kind of like throwing these countries into the "Axis of Evil" and enemy lists after September 11th, when if fact that country was not involved. The U.S. is very large. These countries (generally) are not. They are separate countries, and often differ enormously in their views and laws.

Lastly, this is just about respect. A foreign country that these people were visiting has laws. They broke them. They should own up to whatever the punishment for the infraction may be. Simple as that. This has nothing to do with "fundamentalism" (who even knows what that means anymore), Islam, or Sharia law. It's quite similar to other laws around the world. Also, neither side will tell the whole story. Though LA Times is my home page I check every day, they (most likely) will not have every detail, and neither will the local press in Dubai.

I wonder how long the creepy patrol officer watched before he busted them?

I find this kinda funny. 6 years is a bit extravagant non-the-less. I'd just get them for public indecency.. They're going to kill their tourism market for the laws in place.

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