Cross-dressing student has sentence reduced by appeal court

DUBAI // An Emirati student convicted of public indecency, cross-dressing, homosexuality, insulting a religious creed and committing consensual homosexual relations has had his sentence reduced from three years to one on appeal. The 22-year-old M N was sentenced by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance last March. The defendant was arrested on July 20 last year as he was travelling to Europe with his male partner, another Emirati who had been convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to a year in jail. M N's lawyer told the Dubai Court of Appeals that procedures used in his client's arrest and the search of his home were illegal. Yasser al Naqbi also argued that police arrested M N with an undated warrant which did not specify when it could be used. Police recovered pornographic material of which the defendant was the subject when his home was searched. Prosecutors also accused him of posing dressed in a hijab while reading the Quran. The nature of the offences was such that M N had asked to be isolated from the general prison population if his jail term was upheld. The appellate court is expected to issue the reasons behind its decision in two days.

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