The police in the United Arab Emirates’ business city of Dubai are holding a group of people on charges of debauchery after footage of naked women posing on a balcony was widely shared online.
Pictures and videos showing over a dozen naked women lined up on a balcony while being filmed in the city’s upmarket Marina neighbourhood in broad daylight circulated on social media on Saturday.
It came as a shock in this country – where even the issues such as kissing in public or drinking alcohol without a licence has landed people in jail.
Violations of the public decency law in the country, including nudity and ‘lewd behaviour,’ carry penalties of up to six months in prison and a 5,000 dirham (about Shs4,937,300) fine.
Sharing pornographic material is also punishable with a jail term and hefty fines under the country’s laws – based on Islamic law or Shariah.
State-linked newspaper The National reported the incident appeared to be a ‘publicity stunt’ but did not elaborate.
Dubai police said the individuals detained over the ‘indecent’ video had been referred to the public prosecution.
“Such unacceptable behaviours do not reflect the values and ethics of Emirati society,” police said in a statement.
While liberal in many areas compared to its Middle Eastern neighbours, the United Arab Emirates has strict laws governing expression – with people sent to jail for posing comments and videos online.
The country’s majority state-owned telecom companies block access to major pornographic websites.