Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Actress tells of regret after Dh10,000 Covid fine for Dubai restaurant video

Mariam Hussein claims fans crowded around her, making a private dinner in Dubai's financial district look like a packed party

Mariam Hussein, pictured at Dubai International Film Festival in 2017, was fined for flouting physical distancing rules at a birthday party in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National
Mariam Hussein, pictured at Dubai International Film Festival in 2017, was fined for flouting physical distancing rules at a birthday party in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National

A television actress who was detained for flouting Covid-19 safety measures told of her regret after being hit with a Dh10,000 fine.

Mariam Hussein was taken in for questioning by police after footage of her celebrating her birthday party at a restaurant in Dubai circulated online.

The Snapchat video showed her surrounded by partygoers at a venue in the city's financial district.

As The National reported, she was later taken to a police station for questioning on suspicion of breaching strict laws on physical distancing.

Hussein, who lives in Dubai and is Moroccan, said she was given a surprise birthday cake by the restaurant's managers and diners crowded around to take pictures.

“There were no plans for a birthday party, but the restaurant brought me a surprise birthday cake,” Hussein told The National.

“Surveillance cameras can confirm that it all went unplanned.

“I am aware of how strict measures are taken against offenders.

"I would not break them just to celebrate my birthday, but I may have made a mistake by allowing fans to approach too close for pictures and felt embarrassed to reject their requests.”

She said she regretted what happened and said she usually abides by the safety measures that are in place to protect the public.

Her lawyer, Mohammed Al Najjar, said Dubai Police summoned his client for questioning.

“She was questioned with much respect for three hours, during which the CCTV footage was checked and proved what happened was not planned,” he said.

Dubai Police confirmed they detained the actress over the video.

Officials have repeatedly stressed the need for the public to follow rules on physical distancing, the wearing of masks and other precautions, as new daily Covid cases remain relatively high.

Hussein has appeared in several Gulf television series and several Arabic-language films.

She has more than 680,000 followers on Instagram and about 190,000 on Twitter.

Social distancing enforced across the Emirates

Updated: September 22, 2020 03:23 PM

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