DUBAI: A Dubai court reduced the prison term of an Emirati cross-dresser from three years to one, paving the way for his imminent release, local newspapers reported on Wednesday.
"A student convicted of public indecency, cross-dressing, homosexuality, insulting a religious creed and having consensual homosexual relations had his sentence reduced yesterday (Tuesday) from three years to one on appeal," The National reported.
The 22-year-old student was arrested last July at Dubai International Airport as he was traveling to Europe "with his male partner, another Emirati, who had been convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to a year in jail," the paper said.
The student was sentenced to three years in prison for having "circulated materials that defied decency by posing in a provocative manner wearing women’s make-up and in his underwear," 7Days, another English-language daily, quoted Dubai’s public prosecution as saying.
"At times he was also wearing swimsuits that revealed his buttocks and at other times he was wearing female clothes and accessories," it added.
The Emirati, identified as M.N. by The National, was also accused of posing for photos which showed him reading the Muslim holy book, the Koran, while covering his head in a Muslim women’s veil, or hijab, the dailies said.
However, the appeal court reduced his sentence to one year on Tuesday, a term he had already served while in custody, 7Days said.
The student’s lawyer, Yaser Al Naqbi, had earlier described the arrest and the search of M.N.’s home as "illegal."
"The police arrested him with an illegal warrant, they went on to search his house with the same warrant, which did not clarify when it was issued or when it could be used, he said.
Like its neighboring Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates applies strict laws against homosexuality and public indecency.