Sentences reduced for trans woman and her friend arrested in Abu Dhabi
Muhammad Fadli Abdul Rahman (left) and Nur Fitriah Ibrahim were arrested in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Facebook
Two Singaporeans who were arrested in Abu Dhabi for ‘looking feminine’ and ‘cross-dressing’ have had their sentences reduced.
Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim and freelance fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman were arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city in early August.
The pair were originally sentenced to one year in jail but an official confirmed their sentences were reduced. They now must pay a fine and will be deported from the UAE.
Ibrahim, 37, and Rahman, 26, will pay the 10,000 dirhams (USD $2,270) fine and leave the country, an unnamed official told the Washington Post.
They were arrested at the Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi for ‘wearing women’s clothes in public and for behaving indecently’.
But Ibrahim is a trans woman whose official documents still have her gender recorded as ‘male’. Her family call her Fifi and her sister said she had already travelled to the UAE four times without any incident.
‘Fifi has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, so her personal documents still state her gender as male. We are a very close-knit family and are very worried for her,’ Madam Rozy told the Straits Times.
‘We have a family WhatsApp group and Fifi often sends us messages whenever she’s 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.’
UAE – a confusing place to be
The UAE has a mixed attitude to LGBTI issues, while it made gender reassignment surgery legal last year, being trans, gay and ‘cross-dressing’ are illegal.
Celebrity YouTuber Gigi Gorgeous was detained at Dubai Airport last year because she’s trans.
David Haigh is a partner in a UAE law firm and was himself detained and abused because of his sexuality.
‘The UAE needs to be clear on what the law is and apply that law consistently,’ he said.
‘Dubai, for example, has a significant gay and transgender community including many overtly gay bars an clubs.
‘Understandably, this leads the tourist or business-person to believe homosexuality and transgenderism are acceptable.’