Police in Dubai have arrested 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 the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where even the likes of 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 (£983) fine.
Sharing pornographic material is also punishable with jail time 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,” the police statement said.
While liberal in many areas compared to its Middle Eastern neighbours, the UAE 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.
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