Two Singaporeans have been each sentenced to a year's jail in Abu Dhabi for wearing women's clothes.
Freelance fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman and his transgender friend Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim—also known as Fifi—arrived in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 8 and were arrested at a mall the next day, the Straits Times reports.
An official court document in Arabic said two Singaporean men were arrested for behaving indecently and wearing women's clothes in public.
Cross-dressing and homosexuality are both illegal in UAE.
According to the Straits Times, the families of the pair were informed of the arrest by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) last week. Then on Monday, they were told that Mr Fadli had been sentenced to a year's jail on Sunday (Aug 20).
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, in an e-mail to the family seen by The Straits Times, said: "I'm sorry to hear about this. Rest assured that our consular and mission colleagues will do their best to assist your brother. I understand that they are already in contact with you and your brother. Please let me know if you need further assistance."
Speaking to The Straits Times, Nur's 34-year-old younger sister, who wanted to be known only as Madam Rozy, said: "Fifi has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, so her personal documents still state her gender as male. We are a very close-knit family and are very worried for her."
The Straits Times reports that they they can both file an appeal 15 days after the judgment—on Sept 4.