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British man loses Dubai kiss conviction appeal

24 May 10 14:55 GMT

A British man accused of breaking Dubai's decency laws by kissing a woman in public has had his final appeal against conviction rejected.

Ayman Najafi, 24, from Palmers Green, north London, will now have to serve a month in prison.

Charlotte Adams, 26, from Essex, has served a month's jail term after the kiss in a restaurant.

The couple insisted it was a peck on the cheek, but a woman complained that they were kissing on the mouth.

Najafi, who remains in Dubai, told the BBC he was "very angry and very sad that the verdict has come to this".

He had been "optimistic that a solution could be reached" and said he was "disappointed that the courts had not called on any of his witnesses".

Najafi now has 24 hours in which to turn himself in to the authorities . He will serve a month in prison before being deported at the end of that sentence.

The initial complaint against them was made by a 38-year-old woman who said she was offended by their behaviour at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, where she was dining with her daughter.

During the initial trial, the pair's defence lawyers said the woman had not seen the kiss herself, but had been told by her two-year-old child that the girl had seen them kissing.

They had also been fined 1,000 dirhams, which is about £200, for drinking alcohol.

Earlier this month, tourist Ms Adams, who is now back in Essex, accused the Gulf state of "hypocrisy" over its strict decency laws.

She called for the laws to be changed to match the culture in Dubai.

The Foreign Office advises Britons going to Dubai, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, to be wary of breaching local customs.

A statement on its travel advice website reads: "Britons can find themselves facing charges relating to cultural differences, such as using bad language, rude gestures or public displays of affection."

Najafi had been working for marketing firm Hay Group in Dubai for about 18 months.

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