2 Singaporean men sentenced to a year's jail in Abu Dhabi for wearing women's clothes and looking feminine

Two Singaporean men have been jailed for a year each in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for wearing women's clothing and sporting a feminine appearance.

Stomp contributor MV alerted Stomp to an article posted on LinkedIn that provides a background on the arrest and conviction of the duo.

According to the write-up published by non-governmental organisation 'Detained in Dubai's' CEO Radha Stirling, the Singaporeans were arrested on Aug 9 at a shopping mall for 'looking feminine' after arriving at the country on Aug 8.

She said that "the UAE has built a tolerant, cosmopolitan image, but the laws continue to reflect the conservative, traditional values of the society. It is not uncommon for visitors to be confused about what is or is not acceptable behaviour."

A court document in Arabic said two Singaporean men were caught for wearing women's clothes in public and for behaving indecently.

The New Paper has identified the individuals to be 26-year-old fashion photographer Fadli Rahman and 37-year-old Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim.

Nur is a transgender person who had legally changed her name but has not undergone gender reassignment surgery to become a woman.

Cross-dressing, homosexuality and transgender behaviour are crimes in the UAE.

Fadli's family said they have not spoken to him since he sent them a selfie on Aug 9.

His brother, Saiful Rahman, revealed that his parents cried after receiving news of his arrest and are worried about him.

Nur's sister, Madam Rozy, also said she is worried about her detained sibling.

Mr Fadli's brother, Mr Saiful Rahman with his mother and sister holding a phone displaying a photo of Mr Fadli.Photo: TNP

She told The Straits Times:

"We have a family WhatsApp group and Fifi often sent us messages whenever she was away. This time, she suddenly went silent and this was out of character. A few days later, we received a voice message from her saying she had been arrested. I was shocked.

"Fifi has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, so her personal documents still state her gender as male."

Madam Rozy also revealed that Nur had visited UAE four times in the past and returned safely each time.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, has issued a statement over the incident in response to media queries. He said:

"I'm sorry to hear about this. Rest assured that our consular and mission colleagues will do their best to assist your brother. I understand that they are already in contact with you and your brother. Please let me know if you need further assistance."

Fadli and Nur have until Sep 4 to appeal against their sentence.