A man and his fiancée were arrested late January in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for unlawful sex. The mother of Emlyn Culverwell‚ 29‚ of South Africa‚ was begging for her son’s release as well as his fiancée‚ 27-year-old Iryna Nohai from Ukraine.
Because they were unmarried, they were reported to the authorities and arrested on the spot. The couple had violated the United Arab Emirates’ morality laws, which mandated that sex outside marriage is a punishable crime.
Culverwell and his fiancée, who met in the Muslim-majority country, have been in prison since late January. They were taken to Yas Police Station and then later transferred to Al Wathba Prison, according to reports.
The only thing they did wrong was fall in love, Linda Culverwell, Culverwell’s mother, told News24.
Culverwell’s mother was trying desperately to have the couple released by authorities. The government suggested they get an attorney, which could cost them up to $8‚000 per person for once-off representation.
If found guilty under the Islamic legal system, the couple could face years in prison. Under the Sharia law, Nohai has committed “Zina,” an Islamic term for extramarital sex.
Culverwel’s mother said the couple had appeared before a judge but were denied bail. They were also denied any state-appointed legal representation. The couple also asked to be married in prison‚ but the same judge denied their request.
UAE laws stated couples, especially women‚ who are often imprisoned and guilty of Zina‚ are either married in prison or deported.
I feel sick‚ I have been vomiting from stress‚ Culverwel’s mother said.