Dubai: Deportation for finger gesture man

Dubai is to deport a Pakistani man who raised his middle finger during a road-rage incident.

The Court of Cassation - the last stop in the appeal process - yesterday confirmed that the United Arab Emirates' strict indecency codes covered hand gestures, and a deportation sentence handed down to the man would stand.

It's no surprise for those familiar with the UAE's legal system, which is infused with traditional codes against public insults and other acts considered violations of customs in the native Gulf Arabic society.

But in Dubai's cultural soup - dominated by foreign workers, visitors and sun-seekers - such rules can seem far removed from the skyscrapers and western-style shopping malls.

The court ruling is the latest reminder of Dubai's split personalities as both ambitiously cosmopolitan and instinctively conservative.

The Pakistani man sought to challenge his one-month jail sentence and deportation for giving "the finger" during a traffic altercation.

The court, headed by Judge Mohammed Nabil Riyadh, ruled that deportation was acceptable to all acts deemed indecent under UAE law.

In March last year, a British couple were sentenced to a month in jail and deportation for what was described as exchanging a provocative kiss in a restaurant.