Pakistani couple beats indecency charge in Dubai after claiming their car was private place

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Dubai appeals court has thrown out a public indecency conviction and a month's prison sentence for a Pakistani couple accused of having sex in their car after the pair claimed they were together in a private place, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Majid Al Kabban, a lawyer working for a firm representing the husband and wife, said the ruling by the lower court was overturned last week.

"We're definitely happy and a little bit surprised," Al Kabban said. "Usually this type of thing goes in a different way."

Police nabbed the pair in May 2009 and accused them of having sex in their car at a beachfront retail center. A lower court sentenced them in November to a month in jail and ordered them deported. The pair were free while they appealed the case.

The 28-year-old man and his 24-year-old wife, who remain in Dubai, successfully argued in the appeals court that their car should be treated like a private house. Their lawyers argued that because of the car's tinted windows, a policeman who had raised the charge could not have seen what the couple were doing inside.

Police initially suspected something was awry when they spotted the car at the center's parking lot after dark and twice attempted to see inside the vehicle. They then knocked and saw a naked man rolling down the window, the lawyer said.

The ruling is the latest in a string of cases involving sex in Dubai, a cosmopolitan city with the most lenient social codes in the Gulf but a tendency to sometimes crackdown on frisky foreigners.

In March, a British couple were sentenced to a month in jail for passionately kissing in public while 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.