Women accused of prostitution in UAE strip off jail uniforms in protest

Chaotic scenes at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court as 12 women — eight Nigerians, two Chinese and two from Uganda — angrily deny prostitution charges.

ABU DHABI // There were scenes of chaos at the Criminal Court yesterday as two women accused of prostitution angrily stripped off their jail uniforms.

Police took 10 minutes to subdue the pair as they ripped off their green items of clothing and threw themselves to the floor, refusing to return to their cells after the judge adjourned their case.

Amid the kicking and screaming, the women used phrases including “the UAE is a bad place” and “I’m not going back to jail – I will stay here”. But officers eventually managed to remove them from the court corridors.

The two women were among 12 charged in the court yesterday with prostitution. Police said the 12 women – eight Nigerians, two Chinese and two from Uganda – were arrested in the street outside a hotel and found in possession of a suspicious amount of cash and condoms.

But when the judge addressed the women they vociferously denied the police claims.

One woman sat on the floor on her knees to address the judge.

“My lord, I’m not a prostitute, why am I in prison?” she asked while the translator asked her to stand up. “I’m not eating, I vomit every day, I’m pregnant, I’m suffering, look at my hands.

“I don’t want to die in the UAE, I came to enjoy my life, I saw the country on TV, why have they put me in jail?”

A second woman then started shouting that she had come to the country to shop, but was instead charged with prostitution.
"I came to buy many things, I'm not guilty," she yelled.

When the judge asked where she was arrested, she said she could not remember. She then started shouting: “I do not even have condoms.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the women began shouting and trying to talk over her.

This prompted the judge to end the hearing – he said his verdict would be announced on Thursday, but left before saying which Thursday. This prompted the two women to rip off their clothing.