London man tells of 'shock' jailing in Dubai over kiss

Ayman Najafi Mr Najafi says the peck on the cheek was exaggerated

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A north London man who was jailed in Dubai for kissing a woman in public has described his "shock" at what happened.

Ayman Najafi, of Palmers Green, and Charlotte Adams, of Essex, were jailed for a month and deported after the kiss in a restaurant in November.

He said an "innocuous peck on the cheek" was exaggerated by a woman who said they kissed on the mouth.

Mr Najafi said the case was "one word against another", adding that his four witnesses were not called to testify.

'Surreal feeling'

The 24-year-old management consultant for a US firm moved to Dubai in August 2008.

He had gone to the restaurant with Miss Adams, 26, and three friends last November when she kissed him. They were stopped by plain-clothes police officers soon after leaving the restaurant.

He said the conviction was a "big shock" as prosecutors told him "its just going to be a fine", he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He warned those emigrating to Dubai that, despite a large expatriate population and modern lifestyle, it was very "deceptive" because "the laws have not developed as quickly as the country".

He said that the "peck" was exaggerated.

Start Quote

If this is indecency then every expat in Dubai is guilty of it”

End Quote Ayman Najafi

"There's no two ways about it," he said.

"We had four witnesses and everyone knows what happened but they didn't actually want to know what happened.

"We've spoken to staff that were present that night and they told us that if you did something wrong we would have told you to leave. One of our witnesses is the waitress who served us that night.

"I think fundamentally it is a human right that if you have a trial then you should have a witness heard.

"I think I had overall six hearings in court and the time allocated for the six hearings overall must have been less than 10 minutes.

"If this is indecency then every expat in Dubai is guilty of it."

He said he got "emotional" on the way to the jail.

"It is a very surreal feeling and you are thinking they are driving me to jail and you have just said bye to everyone and you have quit your job," he said.

"Your heart just sinks I never thought I would go to jail."

Mr Najafi said he was now just "happy to be home".

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