A British woman could be locked up for a year in an Abu Dhabi jail for having a glass of wine with a married man.
The ex-pat teacher, whose first name is believed to be Lisa, says she was introduced to the Syrian man by a male colleague.
He is understood to have eaten with the pair but then left them alone at the man’s house — where the woman was arrested.
She has now appeared in court in the strict Arab emirate, charged with being alone in the company of a man other than her husband or a close relative, and drinking alcohol without a licence.
The court heard that the Syrian threw his wife out of their home last week after an argument.
After she complained to police about her husband’s behaviour, officers visited him the next day and found him enjoying an after-lunch glass of wine with the British woman, who has not been officially named.
The man’s wife insisted that officials press charges when she was told that her husband had been drinking with another woman.
If found guilty under the country”s strict legislation, which is influenced by Islam’s sharia law, the teacher could be imprisoned for as long as 12 months.
Police arrested the British teacher and her host for being alone together and drinking alcohol illegally.
‘She is looking at anything between a month in jail or a year for being alone with a man who is not her husband,’ a UAE legal expert told the Sun.
‘As in so many alcohol cases, it only becomes a problem if someone makes a complaint to the police and they are obliged to act.’
The case highlights the paradoxical nature of life in the United Arab Emirates, which has a reputation as the party capital of the Middle East despite its strict Islamic culture.
The Syrian man will not be punished for being with the Briton, as it is not a crime for men to socialise with women, but has been detained on a separate drugs charge.