Two men arrested for groping each other in a car near the beach in Dubai last month have been sentenced to three months in prison, reports The National.
The unnamed men, a 32-year-old from Oman and a 27-year-old Filipino, were originally picked up by police after a nosy neighbor reported “suspicious” behavior near her house in Jumirah, Dubai.
“When the driver saw me he moved his car next to our neighbour’s boat,” she said. She then sneaked up on the car to get a closer look, using nearby trees as cover, but the driver spotted her again and moved the vehicle once more. “I felt suspicious and called the police,” said the woman.
The Filipino, called RS in court papers, says his friend initiated sexual contact, but admitted he would’ve had sex with him in a heartbeat if they were in private. ‘He tried to kiss me on the cheek but I stopped him because we were in a public place.”
Both men will face deportation after their sentence is completed.
Members of gay groups in the United Arab Emirates point to the incident as a warning: ‘This does serve as a cautionary tale, I can’t stress the importance—given the current climate and the string of arrests—to the LGBT community that what ought to be done in a safe, private setting, behind closed doors,” says Abdallah, the chair of UAE LGBT, tells Pink News. “[But] I think that people becoming over-vigilant in order to catch people in the act should be discouraged.”
Ironically, activists say it’s precisely because supposedly private areas like homes and hotels are monitored that gays and lesbians are forced to resort to such behavior.