40 Women are Facing Prison Time in Dubai for Posing Naked on a Balcony

Metro UK - A group of young women who appeared naked for a ‘brazen’ daylight shoot on a balcony in Dubai could face sentences of up two years in prison, a campaign group has said. 

More than a dozen models taking part in the scenes have been arrested for offences including public debauchery after the video emerged on Saturday.

Radha Stirling, Director and Founder of Detained in Dubai, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Initially we were being told that it was the Israeli branch of a US adult website and now we are hearing that it’s an Israeli porn channel. ...

‘They think what these people were trying to do was quite vile, knowing full well the laws in relation to exposure are strict in the UAE. People have been arrested for wearing T-shirts deemed to be offensive yet they were out there in plain sight of the rest of the buildings. 

‘If it turns out to be an Israeli porn company and the embassy of Israel is involved, then they might do a deal of some sort but if went straight down the line they could face having to pay several hundred thousand dirham in fines and a couple of years in prison.’ ...

In separate reports, the models were said to have been mainly from the Ukraine, with others from further parts of the ex-Soviet Union, including Belarus, Moldova and Russia. 

A Russian man believed to have organised the shoot is said to have been among those detained, although it’s not clear where the footage was due to be published.

I humbly believe that I can speak for everyone when I ask, "Where, and since when, is it a crime for 40 models to get naked and pose on a public balcony?" And the answers are "everywhere" and "since forever." 

But still, that doesn't make it right that these brave, intrepid souls would be facing two years in a Dubai prison. I've seen enough "Locked Up Abroad" to have a pretty good understanding of what these foreign jails are like. If you'll allow me to mix my 2010s movie prison metaphors, most of them make that pit that Bruce Wayne had to climb out of look like the place Jordan Belfort worked on his tennis game. But at least the people who get profiled on that show are usually the sorts of assholes who think they can get away with smuggling drugs into the sorts of countries where they treat drug smugglers like they've keistered a nuclear weapon. Invariably these subjects knew what they were getting into, getting caught is part of the risk of  doing business, and they tend to not be the most sympathetic figures in the world. 

But 40 women trying to do publicity for an Israeli porn site is a different story entirely. People don't get more sympathetic than that. They might not be innocent, but they are innocents. I mean, what do we think they did, Googled "Dubai public decency statutes before they took their clothes off? Went down to the local law office and checked with a lawyer? Went to the library? They're porn models from behind the old Iron Curtain. They come from countries where porn is as big a part of the economy as agriculture. Where young, attractive brides for rich, creepy, old loners is as big an export as oil. I'm sure these young ladies find a society where balcony nudity is a jailable offense  as strange and alien to them as a government that regulates t-shirts is to us. 

It's a shame, really. These idealistic women represent the best in all of us. It's too bad their modern sensibilities and body positive feminism still has to run up against outdated, old world moralizing. They're like the 21st century's answer to Greek philosopher Diogenes, one of early followers of the Cynicism movement. He believed that the less he owned, the freer he was. So he would often sunbathe nude in Athens' public square, unencumbered by worldly possessions like pants. He too was often persecuted, as these women of vision are today. I truly believe that if we could live in his world - and theirs, we'd all be much better off. 

So let's hope and pray for justice in this matter. These women aren't criminals. They're goodwill ambassadors. A diverse, international group of right-minded people, traveling to different countries, selflessly trying to make the world a better place. They're Porn Models Without Borders. And if ever there was a situation that called for the United Nations to get off its ass and get involved, this is it. If they can't take their clothes off to promote an Israeli porn site in an Arabic monarchy, can we claim that any of us are truly free? 

Free the Dubai 40! Free the Dubai 40!