Jailed cross-dresser pleads for isolation

An Emirati student convicted of public indecency and consensual homosexual relations asks an appeals court to keep him away from the general prison population.

DUBAI // An Emirati student convicted of public indecency, cross-dressing, homosexuality, insulting a religious creed and consensual homosexual relations has asked an appeals court to keep him away from the general prison population if it upholds his conviction. The 22-year-old M N was sentenced to three years in jail by Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in March after he appeared in pornographic pictures that were distributed online. He was arrested at Dubai International Airport on July 20 last year with his male partner, who had been convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to one year in jail. Yaser al Naqbi, M N's lawyer, said in today's closing argument that his client should be acquitted because of what he called improper arrest and search procedures. He also called the writ used when apprehending M N into question. "Police arrested him with an illegal warrant, Your Honour," Mr al Naqbi told Dubai Court of Appeals. "They further went to search his house with the same warrant that did not clarify when the warrant was issued or when it can be used." Pornographic material, of which the defendant was the subject, was recovered by police officers when his home was searched. Prosecutors accused him of circulating images of himself online dressed in a hijab while reading the Holy Quran. The appellate court is expected to issue its verdict on July 20. amustafa@thenational.ae