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Singaporeans arrested at UAE to be fined and deported instead of facing jail

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Following intercessions by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, multiple meetings with the Singapore Embassy and public outcry, two Singaporeans who were arrested and sentenced to 1 year in prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for “wearing women’s clothes in public and for behaving indecently” have had their sentences reduced significantly.

An official told The National, a UAE newspaper, that the sentence has been reduced to a Dh10,000 fine (about S$3,600) and deportation.

26-year-old Fadli Rahman and 37-year-old Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, were arrested in a shopping centre in the UAE on 9 August and sentenced to a year in jail on 20 August for cross-dressing and indecent behaviour.

Cross-dressing, homosexuality, and transgender behaviour are criminal offenses in the UAE. The duo initially had until 4 September to appeal the sentence.

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It has been reported that Nur Qistina is a transgender who has not undergone sex reassignment surgery to become a woman but has undergone a legal name change. Fadli is a fashion photographer who was in Abu Dhabi for a photoshoot.’

Fadli’s sister, Shida Rahman, started a crowdfunding campaign to fund legal representation for her brother and Nur Qistina. The family hoped to raise a total of S$25,000 and surpassed their target on Friday, 25 August.

The campaign organisers said that they intend to get in touch with each donor individually.

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