Passport

UAE to Women: Don’t Check Your Husbands’ Phones

A court in the UAE fined a woman $41,000 and is deporting her for scrolling through her husband's phone.

<> on November 13, 2013 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai is recovering from its slump during the the global financial meltdown. The government has recently released figures that show that construction and tourism the non-oil economy are once again growing.
<> on November 13, 2013 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai is recovering from its slump during the the global financial meltdown. The government has recently released figures that show that construction and tourism the non-oil economy are once again growing.

The United Arab Emirates would apparently rather deport women and take their money than let them stand up to cheating husbands.

An expatriate living there learned that lesson the hard way, local media reported this week, when a UAE court fined her $41,000 and banished her from the country.

Her crime? She checked her husband’s cellphone after growing suspicious of infidelity, found photo evidence, and accused him of having an affair.

Her husband responded by lodging a complaint with a court in the Ajman emirate, stating that his wife had transferred photos on his mobile phone to hers without permission. She admitted to the deed. Her lawyer said the couple are in their 30s and Arab immigrants — foreign workers account for some 88 percent of the UAE’s total population.

The court then sentenced the woman under a privacy protection law, which is ironic given that the Emirati government — though more moderate than some of its neighbors — pries into the phones of private citizens and sometimes foreign journalists. The government has even blocked the use of secure messaging systems on Blackberry smartphones because it can’t hack into them.

Men and women face death by stoning if found guilty of cheating in the UAE.

The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Foreign Policy.

CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/Getty Images

Henry Johnson is a fellow at Foreign Policy. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history and previously wrote for LobeLog. @HenryJohnsoon

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