Eleven Ukrainian models and a Russian photographer were deported following a nude photo shoot on a balcony of a Dubai skyscraper after photos and videos circulated on social media. The charges are public debauchery and the production of pornographic materials. In the United Arab Emirates, nudity and other “obscene behavior” lead to sentences of up to six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (about 1,200 euros)
“The prosecutor ordered the expulsion of the defendants for their behavior contrary to public morals,” al-Humaidan said, adding that the women’s group was accused of violating the country’s public decency law.
Dubai, a favorite destination for models, influencers and citizens of Eastern Europe
Dubai is a premier destination for influencers and well-known Instagram models from around the world, who fill their social feeds with gorgeous bikini selfies from the coastal emirate’s luxury hotels and man-made islands. But the city’s branding as the perfect tourist destination has at times provoked controversy and clashed with the sheikh’s strict rules governing the behavior and gestures allowed in public.
The nude photo shoot scandal occurred a few days before Ramadan, the holiest month on the Muslim calendar, and coinciding with the arrival in Doha, Qatar, of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for an official state visit. Over the years, Dubai has increasingly promoted itself as a popular holiday destination for Russians. And Cyrillic signs are very common in the main shopping centers of the city.
It is not the first time such an episode has happened
This is not the first time that foreign social media influencers, professional and non-professional, have attracted “unwanted” control to the UAE. Earlier this year, when Dubai promoted itself as a major pandemic-friendly party haven for travelers fleeing tight closures elsewhere, European reality show stars were targeted for showing off their social media. Dubai pool holidays, not always respectful of the rules.
Although the UAE recently made legal changes to attract foreign tourists and investors, allowing unmarried couples to share hotel rooms and residents to drink unlicensed alcohol, the Arab Gulf country’s judicial system maintains strict sanctions for violations of the law on public decency.
“Obscene” behavior punishable even with six months in prison
Nudity and other “obscene behavior” lead to sentences of up to six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams (about 1,200 euros). Sharing pornography is also punishable by imprisonment and heavy fines. Most of the country’s state-owned telecommunications companies block access to pornographic websites.
Foreigners, who make up about 90% of the UAE’s population (which is about 9 million people) have been jailed for online commentary and videos, but also for behavior that is not considered a crime in the West, such as kissing. in public.
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