On Sunday evening, a video of the women went viral on social media, with one resident of a Dubai tower filming the group from another building in the Marina neighborhood. Unconfirmed reports later suggested that the ’stars’ were mainly from the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The video quickly spread throughout the internet, and then the local police department got involved.
On Twitter, law enforcement noted that anyone who violates the country's law on lewd actions and debauchery could be punished with a six-month jail term or a fine of 5000 dirhams ($1,300). For the organizers, the punishment could be even more severe, with a guaranteed stint behind bars.
"Dubai Police warns against such unacceptable behaviors which do not reflect the values and ethics of Emirati society," the statement said.
On Monday morning, Moscow's RIA Novosti news agency, citing a source in the Russian General Consulate in Dubai, reported that around 40 people were arrested, including eight Russian citizens. One of those detained was supposedly the person who set up the photoshoot.
"They appealed for help to the Consulate General, but it's difficult to do anything here. The law is quite serious – for participation in lewd acts," the report said.
The source suggested that the participants of the photoshoot could be pardoned as a gesture of leniency because of the holy month of Ramadan.
However, shortly after, RIA changed its tune, citing diplomats saying that no Russian women were detained and that just twelve people were arrested in total. Only one of those was said to be Russian – the man who arranged the shot.
Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, has a legal system based on Sharia Law, a legal code built around the religious precepts of Islam.
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