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UAE drops jail term for Singaporeans for 'dressing feminine'

Abu Dhabi criminalises 'indecent attire' as an act of public indecency
A general view shows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Abu Dhabi (AFP)

A Singaporean man and his transgender friend facing jail in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a "feminine" way have had their sentences reduced to a fine and deportation, reports and a source said Monday.

Fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli bin Abdul Rahman and his transgender friend Noor Vitriya Kistina Ibrahim were arrested at an Abu Dhabi shopping mall this month, according to relatives and non-profit group Detained in Dubai, which claims to assist victims of injustice across the emirates. 

Fadli's brother Saiful previously said the pair were detained by the tourism police for "looking feminine", while Detained in Dubai said they were convicted of charges related to "inappropriate behaviour over their clothing".

Abu Dhabi's penal code criminalises "indecent attire" as an act of public indecency.

The pair were sentenced to a year in jail. 

A person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their sentence was reduced to a fine and deportation on Sunday. 

Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National also reported that the charges were reduced to a deportation and a fine of 10,000 dirhams (about $2,700), citing the emirate's judicial department.

Family members did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fadli, 26, was wearing earrings and a tie at the time of his arrest, according to his brother.

Noor, reported to be 37, is described by activists as a transgender person who has not yet undergone sex change surgery to become a woman, so is described as male on her passport.

Rights activists in Singapore had raised $25,000 for their legal and other fees last week, and sent it to a law firm in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE also criminalises sodomy, pre-marital and extra-marital sex.

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