Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dubai adultery conviction upheld

Marnie Pearce and son Laith
Marnie Pearce, 40, with her eldest son, seven-year-old Laith

A British mother's conviction for adultery in Dubai has been upheld by the Emirate's Appeal Court, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has said.

The FCO said Marnie Pearce's sentence was reduced from six to three months. She was also ordered to pay a fine of 3,000 Dirhams and will be deported.

Ms Pearce, 40, from Bracknell, Berks, was convicted of adultery in November.

She claimed she was framed by her ex-husband Ihab El-Labban, who accused her of cheating on him. He denies this.

They had two children together, Ziad, four, and Laith, seven.

'Only a friend'

She insists she is innocent and said she feared losing custody of her sons.

Ms Pearce remained on bail while she attempted to overturn her conviction - it is unclear whether she will have to start her sentence immediately.

She first met her ex-husband in Oman and married him in the Seychelles in September 1999.

They moved to Dubai but the relationship eventually broke down.

In March last year she was arrested and accused of committing adultery with a British man who she insists was only a friend.

She contacted Bracknell Conservative MP Andrew MacKay, who has raised her case with Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown.

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