Airline pair jailed over sex texting

Two Emirates Airline cabin crew have been jailed for three months for exchanging lewd text messages.

DUBAI // Two Emirates Airline cabin crew have been jailed for three months for exchanging lewd text messages. RS, 42, a flight attendant, and EB, 47, a cabin services supervisor, were convicted of "coercion to commit sin" after sending each other sexually themed SMS messages, according to court documents released yesterday. The pair, both Indian, were sentenced to six months in prison and deportation by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanors in December.

The court said the texts "fulfilled all the necessary angles of coercion to the commitment of sin". The Appeals Court upheld that decision last week. But it halved their jail sentences and scrapped the deportation orders. There was not enough evidence to prove that the pair had extramarital relations, it added. The flight attendant's sister, BM, 25, was also convicted of perjury and sentenced to three months and deportation by the lower court. Her deportation order was withdrawn on appeal.

The case first went to court after the flight attendant's husband, SG, filed a lawsuit against his wife in March 2009 claiming that she was involved in an illicit relationship with the supervisor. The couple had been embroiled in a divorce battle since 2007. SG has now gained sole custody of their four-year-old son, although it was not clear when the couple divorced. During the divorce proceedings, SG requested that the courts order Etisalat to produce copies of his wife's text messages, which, he said, proved the illicit relationship.

The telecoms provider turned them over to the court in October 2008. Five months later, the flight attendant's husband filed a criminal complaint against her, charging her with having an affair and saying her text messages were an insult to Islam. She told police that her sister sent the messages to the supervisor, who also denied any relationship with RS. He told officers that he had been seeing her sister for the past four years.

Prosecutors decided that was untrue, however, leading to the perjury charge against the sister.