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Kissing couple smacked with 30 days in jail

Published:Monday | April 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):

A Dubai appeals court on Sunday upheld a one-month prison sentence for a British couple convicted of kissing in a restaurant.

The pair landed in court after an Emirati woman complained about the public kiss, which the couple insisted was just a peck on the cheek. They were arrested in November and convicted of inappropriate behaviour and illegal drinking.

Cosmopolitan Dubai has the most relaxed social codes in the conservative Gulf, but authorities enforce strict decency laws and regularly crack down on people accused of pushing the limits, which can include everything from wearing a miniskirt to losing one's temper in traffic.

As recently as yesterday, though, a young Italian-Iranian couple could be seen kissing among the visitors to the 127th-floor observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper.

Last month, an Indian couple was sentenced to three months in jail for exchanging steamy text messages. In 2008, two Britons accused of having sex on the beach got three months in jail, though their sentences were later suspended.

Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams - both in their 20s - were arrested after an Emirati woman claimed they exchanged a passionate kiss in a restaurant where she and her daughter were having dinner.

Najafi and Adams will be deported after serving their sentences.

They have 30 days to appeal Sunday's ruling in a higher court.