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The National Newspaper

DUBAI // An Emirati businessman was sentenced to three years in jail for forgery and sexual assault, after a court concluded he duped a woman into believing she was legally married to him. He was originally charged with living with a woman out of wedlock but the charges were elevated to sexual assault when it was revealed he had forged the marriage certificate. HK, 32, and SA, 30, a woman from Uzbekistan, were arrested at the home they shared in January 2008 after he called police and told them she had stolen his collection of watches.

When police questioned SA, she produced a marriage certificate she believed was legitimate. In fact, HK used a marriage certificate from a previous marriage in 2000, and changed the names and details on it. Police charged them both with forging an official document and for having sex out of wedlock. At a hearing in August, SA's lawyer told that court his client had been defrauded and conned into sleeping with the man. Yusri Saad told the Criminal Court of First Instance his client had been under the impression since 2006 that she was married to HK. She had signed a document in Arabic, he said, which she cannot read, and believed it was a marriage certificate.

The lawyer argued that since his client was duped, the sex charge should be dropped because she did not agree to a sexual relationship outside of marriage. HK's lawyer, Nasser Hashim, countered by saying that the marriage was secret but not illegal. SA was acquitted of all charges.

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