Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 11:52 UK

Dubai adultery woman out of jail

Marnie Pearce and son
Marnie Pearce was given a three-month term

A British mother jailed in the United Arab Emirates for adultery has been released from prison.

Marnie Pearce, 40, who is originally from Bracknell in Berkshire, was convicted of cheating on her Egyptian ex-husband and jailed in February.

As a result she lost custody of her two sons, aged eight and four, last month.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed Ms Pearce left the Dubai jail where she had been held, on Monday morning.

The supply teacher was handed a three-month prison sentence after her conviction and had faced deportation upon her release from prison but that has been suspended.

An FCO spokeswoman said: "We have been in touch with the UAE authorities about Ms Pearce's case and requested that the deportation be suspended while the child custody case was ongoing.

"The welfare of the children has been our prime concern throughout this case."

She should never have been imprisoned in the first place
Tim Hancock, Amnesty International

Ms Pearce had been held in the women's section of Dubai Central Jail in Al Awir and launched two appeals against her conviction, both of which were unsuccessful.

Her supporters said her three-month sentence had been cut in an apparent U-turn, on account of good behaviour.

However, her brother Daniel Pearce said she had served her full sentence, which he said was 69 days.

He said she had not been pardoned and that her conviction still stood.

Tim Hancock, of Amnesty International, said: "She should never have been imprisoned in the first place. But her release is far from the end of this story.

"Marnie's suffering will continue as she is not able to see her sons and she does not know if she will be able to see them again."

Prison term cut

Ms Pearce was arrested and accused of committing adultery with a British man, who she insists was only a friend, in March last year.

She was convicted in November and jailed on 19 February.

Her prison term was reduced from six months at her first appeal.

She denied the adultery claims made by her ex-husband, Ihab El-Labban, who now has custody of their children.

She first met him in Oman and married him in the Seychelles in September 1999.

They moved to Dubai, but the relationship eventually broke down.

Last Thursday, a protest march in support of Ms Pearce to London's United Arab Emirates Embassy was cancelled when supporters were told her case was being reviewed.



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