A South African man and his Ukrainian fiancé have been arrested for having sex outside of marriage in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Emlyn Culverwell‚ 29, and Iryna Nohai, 27, were reportedly arrested after Nohai developed stomach cramps and went for treatment at a local hospital, where a doctor discovered that she was pregnant.
However, the couple has not yet been charged as authorities in the Islamic country are still reportedly investigating the issue.
Culverwell has worked at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi for five years. His mother, Linda, has tried to reach out to the concerned authorities but she was unable to get any response from authorities in either South Africa or Abu Dhabi.
“We are trying to get messages to the two to say we love them and that they shouldn’t be worried... what concerns me most, is that we actually haven’t got a clue how they are. All the Department of International Relations is prepared to say is that we have ‘to be patient,’ but there are three lives at stake here,” she added.
The 27-year-old Ukrainian woman is apparently undergoing tests to determine how long she has been sexually active.
“For heaven’s sake, how can they supposedly determine that? It must feel as if she is being raped by the authorities. The only thing they did which was wrong was to fall in love. It makes no sense,” said Linda.
South African authorities responded that they are aware of the incident but there is little they can do as it is a matter of domestic U.A.E. law.
Nelson Kgwete, a spokesperson of the Department of International Relations, said, “The South African government is aware of the case, but unfortunately cannot provide legal assistance. As [the] department all we can do is monitor the situation and try to ensure that they are fairly treated.”
Sex outside of marriage is illegal in the UAE. If the couple is found guilty, they could face a long jail sentence.
However, this is not a first such incident. In 2008, Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer, a British couple, was charged for having sex on a beach in Dubai.