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DUBAI: Court upholds one-month jail sentence for couple smooching in public

April 4, 2010 |  7:32 am

Dubai_couple A kiss on the cheek is one thing. But don't get caught smooching in public in Dubai, or you might end up serving time behind bars. 

A court in the United Arab Emirates city-state upheld the one-month prison sentence Sunday of a British couple accused of locking lips and touching each other at a restaurant, in violation of public decency laws, the daily paper Gulf News reported.

Dubai resident Ayman Najafi, 24, and visitor Charlotte Adams, 25, (pictured at right) both British nationals, were arrested in November and charged with indecent behavior and public drunkenness after they were accused by an Emirati woman of locking lips at a restaurant in front of her kids. 

The high-profile case is the latest in which the loose lifestyles of the United Arab Emirates' large expatriate community have run up against the prim and puritanical values of the Arabian Peninsula.

It began when the Emirati woman was dining at the 1950s-America-themed Bob's Easy Diner franchise in the upscale Jumeirah Beach Residence section of Dubai, home to many Westerners living in the city-state. 

One of her kids became upset. 

"My daughter told me that the accused were kissing on the mouth," the Emirati women told the court, according to a March 14 ABC News report. 

"Then I spotted them doing so myself," she said. "I also saw them touching each other, as they were seated two to three meters away from our table. A number of customers witnessed the scene as well."

To hear her tell it, the two were practically on top of each other. 

But ABC News cited an employee at the restaurant saying there was nothing inappropriate going on. 

"They were just sitting, laughing like everyone else," the employee told ABC News. "The managers wouldn't let it happen. We know the culture of the country, and we would not allow this at all."

On second thought, maybe even that peck on the cheek is a bad idea. 

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: Charlotte Adams and Ayman Najafi. Credit: Facebook