A British IT worker faces possible jail time after he was arrested in Dubai for sticking his middle finger up at another motorist.
Jamil Ahmed Mukadam, 23, made the rude gesture as he drove to Dubai International Airport in February, but wasn’t arrested until September 10, when he returned to the oil-rich emirate for a holiday.
Offensive or insulting behaviour is illegal in the United Arab Emirates and Mr Mukadam, from Leicester, could face up to six months in jail if he’s found guilty .
It’s easy for unsuspecting tourists to fall foul of the law in the UAE, where harsh penalties are handed out for things that may not be illegal elsewhere, things like:
Some chaps enjoy dressing like a woman – and vice versa for ladies – which for open-minded individuals can be a fun and liberating experience; you should try it sometime. Just not in the United Arab Emirates, never in the UAE, where cross-dressing will likely land you in the slammer – and you really don’t want to be dressed like a woman in a men’s prison in Dubai.
2. Writing a cheque that bounces
Hands up who’s been guilty of writing a cheque that bounced. Well, you’re lucky it didn’t happen in the UAE where not having the funds to honour a cheque is a crime that could see you do time. The law has softened in recent years after 20 foreign businessmen, who’d been convicted of writing bounced cheques, went on hunger strike in 2013 .
3. Sleeping with your partner
In a loving relationship but not yet tied the knot? Then you better keep your hands off each other if you’re travelling to the UAE, where sex outside of marriage is illegal. According to the Foreign Office, it is even against the law to live together or share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex, unless you’re wedded or closely related.
4. Being gay
Same-sex marriages are not recognised in the UAE and homosexual intercourse is illegal, which, ultimately, makes the country one of the least hospitable nations in the world for gay men and women.
5. Smoking electronic cigarettes
Only old school analogue fags allowed in the UAE, where electronic ciggies are likely to be confiscated at the border.
6. Staying in a hotel if you’re under 18
Anyone who has designs on travelling after graduating from high school might want to give the UAE a miss: it is illegal to stay in a hotel if you’re under 18, unless accompanied by an adult. Magaluf it is, then.
7. Being drunk
Public intoxication is a big no-no in the UAE, though alcohol is available at licensed venues; non-Muslim residents can also get a liquor licence that permits them to drink alcohol at home. The legal age for drinking is 18 in Abu Dhabi and 21 in Dubai and the Northern Emirate (except Sharjah, where boozing is illegal). Even tipsy passengers transiting through the UAE can be arrested.
8. Taking drugs
Few nations trust their citizens enough to decide for themselves whether or not to take drugs; consequently narcotics remain illegal in most countries. However, few countries have quite such severe laws as the UAE for people caught taking, trafficking or dealing drugs. Worst case scenario? The death penalty, which is about as bad as a worst case scenario gets.
9. Displaying affection in public
Caught snogging in the park? Then you may face a short stretch in the slammer in the UAE, which takes a dim view of public displays of affection. There have been several arrests in recent years for kissing and petting in public, which is considered a violation of the country’s decency laws.
10. Importing pork or porn
If either – or both – of these happen to be your racket it’s probably best you take your business elsewhere: importing pork and porn is illegal in the UAE, according to the Foreign Office.