The models arrested for posing naked in a high-rise balcony photo shoot in Dubai will dodge jail, authorities confirmed as the Emirate cracks down on public decency.
Dubai police detained at least 11 Ukrainian women who posed naked in broad daylight along with a male Russian photographer on charges of public debauchery and producing pornography.
Earlier this week, images and videos of the naked women were splattered across social media and sent shockwaves through the Emirate – where a legal code based on Islamic law, or Shariah, has landed foreigners in jail for tamer offenses.
After an unusually speedy investigation, Dubai’s Attorney General Essam Issa al-Humaidan announced that those behind the photo shoot would be deported to their home countries, without elaborating further.
Dubai police have declined to officially identify those detained. More than a dozen women appeared in the widely shared video – with some named by Russian media.
One woman outed by local media, Marianna Fedchuk, 21, admitted to being in a clothed picture including many women who subsequently stripped for the naked shot – but denied being one of the women on the balcony.
The models arrested for posing naked in a high-rise balcony photo shoot (pictured) in Dubai will dodge jail, authorities confirmed as the Emirate cracks down on public decency
Dubai police detained at least 11 Ukrainian women who posed naked in broad daylight (pictured) along with a male Russian photographer on charges of public debauchery and producing pornography
In this picture, at least 19 women can be seen preparing for the naked shoot, which was reportedly for an Israeli porn site
The second image shows nine nude women standing on a balcony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, one clothed woman is pictured sitting inside on a sofa
She said she flew back to Kyiv before the photo was taken, she said, as she urged her followers to follow her x-rated social media pages ‘more closely, so you can at least distinguish naked me from the other naked girls’.
Meanwhile, trained lawyer Yana Graboshchuk, 27, was revealed to be among the group detained for the revealing shoot – as her family said they knew where she had flown but had no idea what her purpose was.
She was outed by her distinctive tattoo which matches her social media pictures.
Ukrainian and Russian authorities confirmed the arrest of their citizens Tuesday, but the nationalities of the others detained were not immediately known.
The swift deportation is rare for the legal system in Dubai. Such cases typically go to trial or are otherwise adjudicated before deportation.
‘The public prosecutor ordered the deportation of the accused for their behavior contrary to public morals,’ al-Humaidan said, adding that the group of women had been charged with violating the country’s public decency law.
Dubai is a top destination for the world’s Instagram influencers and models, who fill their social media feeds with slick bikini-clad selfies from the coastal Emirate’s luxury hotels and artificial islands.
But the city’s brand as a glitzy foreign tourist destination has at times provoked controversy and collided with the sheikhdom’s strict rules governing public behavior and expression.
The nude photo shoot scandal came just days before Ramadan – the holiest month of the Muslim calendar – and as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in nearby Doha, Qatar, for an official state visit.
Over the years, Dubai increasingly has promoted itself as a popular destination for Russians on holiday.
Signs in Cyrillic are a common sight at the city’s major malls.
Some of the girls who took part in the naked balcony photoshoot were pictured together enjoying their time in Dubai
Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) claimed Russian businessman Alexey Kontsov (pictured), 33, ‘was behind the naked photo session in Dubai’. He was detained by police over the naked balcony shoot in the United Arab Emirates, but claims he has nothing to do with the stunt
Marianna Fedchuk, 21, admits she was in a clothed picture including many women who subsequently stripped for the naked shot
Fedchuk denied reports by Russian news sites that she was one of the 11 detained by the Dubai authorities, stressing she flew back to Kyiv avoiding the scandal
The Ukrainian model gave a cheeky riposte to claims that she was on the notorious balcony photoshoot in Dubai
The generally pro-Kremlin tabloid Life identified the Russian man arrested as the head of an information technology firm in Russia’s Ivanovo region, though his firm denied he had anything to do with the photo shoot.
It is not currently known if those arrested had legal representation.
Stanislav Voskresensky, the governor of Ivanovo, asked the Russian Foreign Ministry and Russia’s ambassador to the UAE to offer the Russian man their support.
‘We don’t abandon our own,’ Voskresensky wrote on social media.
It’s not the first time that foreign social media influencers have drawn unwanted scrutiny in the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier this year, as Dubai promoted itself as a major pandemic-friendly party haven for travelers fleeing tough lockdowns elsewhere, European reality TV show stars came under fire for flaunting their poolside Dubai vacations on social media and for bringing coronavirus back home.
Meanwhile, trained lawyer Yana Graboshchuk, 27, (pictured) was revealed to be among the group detained for the revealing shoot – as her family said they knew where she had flown but had no idea what her purpose was
Yana is a law graduate who found it hard to get a job in her chosen field. After leaving university with her law degree, she worked as a cafe waitress, and a hostess at a restaurant, and then a brewery before starting as a model a year or so ago
Denmark and the United Kingdom later banned flights to the UAE as virus cases surged in the federation of seven Emirates.
Although the UAE has recently made legal changes to attract foreign tourists and investors – allowing unmarried couples to share hotel rooms and residents to drink alcohol without a license – the Gulf Arab country’s justice system retains harsh penalties for violations of the public decency law.
Nudity and other ‘lewd behavior,’ carry penalties of up to six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 dirhams £983).
The sharing of pornographic material is also punishable with prison time and hefty fines. The country’s majority state-owned telecom companies block access to pornographic websites.
Foreigners, who make up some 90 per cent of the UAE’s population of over 9 million, have been imprisoned for comments and videos online, as well as for offenses considered benign in the West, like kissing in public.
Dubai police often turn a blind eye to foreigners misbehaving.