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30th December

Update: Divorced from Justice...

Dubai adultery laws used for spouse vengeance

A British woman fighting jail in Dubai after being convicted for adultery insisted she had been wrongly accused by her ex-husband.

Marnie Pearce has been sentenced to six months in prison by an Arab court. She may lose the right to custody of her two sons after being found guilty at the end of November.

She launched an appeal on Christmas Day, backed by the Tory MP Andrew MacKay, who raised her case with the Foreign Office. Pearce cannot leave Dubai until her conviction is quashed and is desperate to leave with her sons Laith, seven, and four-year-old Ziad: I am so scared that if I go to jail I will never see them again.

In Dubai, non-Muslim adulterers cannot be punished by flogging but can face up to 18 months in prison.

The British expatriate met her Egyptian husband Ihab El-Labban in Oman in 1992. The couple married in the Seychelles, had two children and moved to Dubai, where they have lived for the last 15 years.

Pearce said the marriage had been in difficulty for some time but fell apart last year and the couple separated.  She claimed that subsequently she was falsely accused of adultery on the basis of evidence purportedly showing she had cheated on El-Labban.

Pearce then claimed that he burst into her home with several police officers in March: The police came in the front and back door with my husband who accused me of having an affair.

Pearce, who finally received her divorce decree absolute last month, said she was arrested, placed in handcuffs and interrogated by police. Nearly four months later, she claims she was told by police that they had gathered evidence - including used condoms, a man's underpants and a man's jacket. Pearce was ordered to give a DNA sample but she claims the man alleged to have been involved was never contacted and has been free to travel back and forth to Dubai ever since.

She said her husband took possession of the family home and she and her sons were forced to stay in a shelter before seeking refuge with a friend.

On November 27 Pearce was convicted of adultery and sentenced to six months in prison. She launched her appeal on December 25 and the case was adjourned until January 8.


4th June

Update: Acrimonious Dubai...

More legal nastiness as couple are jailed for adultery

A British woman and her lover have been jailed for two months for adultery in Dubai a crime in the repressive UAE.

Sally Antia was arrested after her estranged husband Vincent Antia told police she was conducting an affair with Mark Hawkins.

Mr Antia is thought to have informed police about the affair to benefit from laws under which wronged husbands get custody of the children.

Mrs Antia and her boyfriend will spend the next month in the spartan Al Aweer prison after which they will be deported to Britain. They were sentenced to two months but will serve only one after the month they have already spent in the cells is taken into account.

Under Emirati law, there is very little legal provision for Mrs Antia to get custody of her two girls, aged 11 and 13, who are being looked after by their father in Dubai. And being convicted of a dishonour crime could wreck her chances completely.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: Sally and Mark should not be in jail right now and should never have been facing criminal charges in the first place. The sex lives of consenting adults shouldn't be a criminal matter. Sally and Mark should be released, immediately and unconditionally.

Update: Sentence Completed

18th June 2009. See article from

A British mother jailed for adultery in Dubai has been freed - straight into the arms of the husband who put her behind bars. Sally Antia has apparently decided to forgive Vincent Antia even though he told police she was having an affair, which is illegal in the Islamic country.

Both Antia and her lover Hawkins served six weeks of their two-month sentence. Two weeks were spent in prison, the rest being in a police cell awaiting trial.


11th June

Updated: Flirting with Repression...

More victims of UAE ban on sex outside of marriage

A South African woman has been jailed in the United Arab Emirates for sleeping with her boss in the latest example of the country's hardline approach to sex outside marriage.

Roxanne Hillier has now been jailed for three months even though she agreed to carry out medical tests to prove there had been no sexual contact.

Roxanne Hillier was asleep in a room above the dive shop where she worked in the emirate of Sharjah when police broke down the locked door and arrested her.

They claimed she was having an affair with her boss, an Emirati, who was downstairs at the time repairing the shop's dive equipment. She was also accused of being alone in the same room with him, also technically a crime in Sharjah.

Her father, Freddie Hillier, said police records showed the raid was ordered after someone rang them to say her boss was using the room above the shop to have sex with foreign women: We believe it was aimed at the boss of the place. My daughter was caught in the crossfire.

Hillier said his daughter's big mistake was to sign a confession in Arabic that she did not understand: They were shouting at her in Arabic. She was scared and made the mistake of bowing to pressure. She thought that was going to get her off.

She was brought before a court on May 22 for a fifteen-minute hearing conducted in Arabic. Last week, she was brought before the court again to be told briefly that she had been found guilty and sentenced to three months' jail. Her boss was sentenced to six months.

An appeal in the case is due to be heard on Sunday.

Update: South African

Thanks to Freddie who pointed out that Roxanne is South African, not British as widely reported.


23rd June

Updated: Unappealing UAE...

UAE compounds adultery injustice as man is freed whilst woman loses appeal and remains in jail

The woman recently sentenced to three months in jail in the United Arab Emirates on sex-related charges has lost her appeal against the sentence.

But, in a strange twist, the man Roxanne Hillier was alleged to have had sex with, and who had also been sentenced on these charges, has been released from jail.

As far as we understand, there is no other way that we can take this further in court. But we are exploring other options, Maxine Hillier said shortly after her sister's appeal was heard on Monday.

Hillier, 22, a dive instructor, had been fighting for her freedom since her arrest just more than a month ago. She and the owner of the centre were arrested during a police raid on May 16. She was later found guilty of being alone in a room with a man to whom she was not related, and of engaging in sex out of wedlock.

Her boss, a UAE citizen who is married with children, was sentenced to six months' jail and Hillier to three months.

Hillier's family unsurprisingly insisted the charges were trumped up and that foul play was involved. Strangely the authorities have listed Hillier as muslim when she is in fact christian. They said she had been working late the day of her arrest and had decided to sleep in a locked guest room at the dive centre, while her boss was working in another room. Her father Freddie said the police had forced their way into the centre and broke down Hillier's door.

Maxine Hillier said her family was battling to accept the appeal decision: The family is taking it badly. My sister and my mother are taking a lot of strain . However, they were still hoping to use the release of Hillier's boss to help her sister.


24th July

Updated: Support Roxanne Hillier...

Petition and Facebook to free Roxanne from UAE jail

Our daughter / sister, Roxanne Hillier has been in prison in the UAE since 16th May. She and her boss were found guilty and convicted to 3 months and 6 months, respectively for having sex out of wedlock, this is despite the fact that the medical tests were negative. They were also found guilty of being alone in a room, despite the fact that the police broke into the locked bedroom and found Roxanne alone there. Her boss was caught elsewhere with tools in his hands.

Roxanne lost her appeal and was sent back to prison to complete her full sentence, while her boss was acquitted on the charge of having sex with her and was released immediately.

How can she be guilty of having sex with him, yet he is innocent and did not have sex with her?

We ask that you please log into her petition site Free Roxanne Hillier from prison in the UAE Please sign the petition and send it on to everyone in your address book. Also please put the word out to everyone you can. We desperately need all the signatures that we can get to make a difference.

We also ask that you please log into Roxanne's support wall, where you can leave her a note of support. These messages are printed and given to Roxanne and help to keep her spirits up and keep her sane. The Facebook Support wall is called Friend support for Roxanne Hillier

We (her family) thank you for reading this and would also like to thank all those that have already done so, from the bottoms of our hearts. Roxanne is innocent and has been unfairly imprisoned.

Kind regards,

Freddie, Ina and Maxine Hillier.

Update: Roxanne Freed

24th July 2009.

Our prayers were answered this morning and Roxanne was suddenly released (we believe) by an order from His Highness, Sheik Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Quasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.

We, the Hillier family would like to thank you all for your support in signing this petition. Words cannot express our gratitude to each and every one of you.

This petition is now officially closed. Please visit Facebook Friend support for Roxanne Hillier where we will keep an update for the time being.


12th August

Offsite: Roxanne Hillier's Story...

Freed from UAE jail after adultery and telling story for TV news

Roxanne Hiller tells her story about being jailed in the UAE on charges of adultery.


12th June

Update: US Morality Police...

New York State police charge woman with adultery

Suzanne Corona faces prosecution under the rarely used adultery laws after she was caught with Justin Amend.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of having sex on a picnic table in a park in the small upstate New York town of Batavia.

They were charged with public lewdness but Corona was also maliciously hit with an additional charge of adultery because the arresting officer said he knew she was married. Amend was not charged with adultery because he said he did not know Corona was married.

Under a law enacted during the early 1900s, adultery is a criminal offence punishable by a fine and prison sentence. The law has rarely been used but remains on the statute books of ten U.S. states. Section 255.17 of the New York State penal law states: A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. It is now considered a Class B misdemeanour and is punishable by a £350 fine and 90 days in jail. adultery story

Legal experts said Corona was only the 13th person in New York in the past 40 years to be charged with adultery.

Corona and Amend were spotted by police sitting on a picnic table in full view of people in the park. When officer Matthew Baldwin approached the couple, they insisted they were just talking . Corona was fully clothed but Amend's shirt was off and his trousers were unbuttoned as Corona sat on his lap.

Corona denied they were having sex and said they had chosen a picnic table out of the view of others in the park. She later made a brief appearance at Genesee County Courthouse where she arrived with her husband. Corona did not enter a plea but instead said she planned to challenge the constitutionality of the laws making adultery a crime.

Her husband of six years said he planned to stand by his wife and help her fight the adultery charges.


25th September

Update: Charleston Repents Old Sins...

West Virginia city repeals law against unmarried sex

Members of Charleston City Council decided Monday that an obscure statute in city code outlawing adultery and sex between unmarried individuals should be stricken from the books.

The council voted unanimously to repeal Chapter 78, Article V, Sec. 78-291, which labeled sex acts between unmarried people a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

There was little discussion on the matter before the vote was finalized. Mayor Danny Jones laughed at the law before casting his vote to repeal it: How did they ever put something like this on the books? the mayor said.

Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis was a cosponsor of the bill to repeal the adultery and fornication law. She only recently became aware of the law's existence. She said times have changed and the law needed to go.

But the adultery and fornication law isn't the only ordinance on the city's books that some might find outdated.

Take Chapter 78, Article V, Sec. 78-311, for example. That ordinance makes it a crime to sell, give away or possess pornography or immoral books in city limits.

It shall be unlawful for any person within the city to sell, distribute, lend, give away, exhibit or offer to sell, distribute, lend, give away, exhibit or have in his possession for any such purposes any obscene, lewd, lascivious or immoral book, magazine, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertising, picture, circular or newspaper, the code states.

Another section of Chapter 78 declares it a crime to use indecent language in public performances like plays and concerts.

Ellis said he doubts any of those provisions could ever be enforced. Davis said those sections of the code also will be reviewed.


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