Dubai police have arrested a group of people on charges of public debauchery, authorities say, over a widely shared video that shows naked women posing on a balcony in the city.
Violations of the public decency law in the United Arab Emirates, including for nudity and other “lewd behaviour”, carry penalties of up to six months in prison and a 5000 dirham ($A1800) fine.
The sharing of pornographic material is also punishable with prison time and hefty fines under the country’s laws, which are based on Islamic law, or Sharia.
Late on Saturday, videos and photographs depicting over a dozen naked women, lined up on a balcony while being filmed in Dubai’s upscale Marina neighbourhood in broad daylight, splashed across social media.
It came as a shock in the federation of seven Arab sheikhdoms, where tamer behaviour, such as kissing in public or drinking alcohol without a licence, has landed people in jail.
State-linked newspaper The National reported it appeared to be a “publicity stunt”, without elaborating.
Dubai police said those arrested over the “indecent” video had been referred to the public prosecution.
“Such unacceptable behaviours,” the police statement said, “do not reflect the values and ethics of Emirati society.”
The UAE, while liberal in many regards compared with its Middle Eastern neighbours, has strict laws governing expression. People have been jailed for their comments and videos online.
The country’s majority state-owned telecom companies block access to major pornographic websites