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The BBC's Christian Fraser, in Dubai, says there have been concerns lately that tourists are ignoring the emirate's strict Islamic laws and that the outcome of this case will be a warning that such drunken behaviour will not be tolerated in public.

Pauline Crowe, chief executive of UK charity Prisoners Abroad, said the case served as a timely reminder to people to be aware of local customs and laws because ignorance would not be accepted as a defence in court.

Ms Stirling said the UAE has a long history of penalising rape victims.

"They are not guilty but they were prepared for this," he said. I have to find the reason why the judge gave three months." Acors and Palmer will remain on bail until their appeal is heard at the court. It's normal for a sentence to be six months to a year for an offence such as this." Mr Ahli said he expected Acors and Palmer to serve their full three-month term in a Dubai prison.

He said he was hopeful the conviction would be overturned. Senior prosecutor Faisal Abdelmalek Ahli said he was disappointed at the length of sentence. "Sometimes people serve half their sentence, but this is so short I expect they will serve it all," he said.

So how does the expat man approach the ritual of courting without flouting local mores and getting kicked out of the country?

Unless you are working on a construction site, you will meet good-looking women everyday in Dubai.

"Police regularly fail to differentiate between consensual intercourse and violent rape,” she added.

"Victims go to them expecting justice, and end up being prosecuted.

"The sentence of three months is usual in these cases. Acors and Palmer were not at Dubai's Court of First Instance to hear the ruling but had been ordered not to leave the emirate.

'Not happy' Their defence lawyer Hassan Matter said the pair were upset but not surprised by the verdict.

They were fined 1,000 dirhams (160; 0) and will be deported after serving their sentences.

Their lawyer says the pair will appeal against the verdict.

Hospitality is big business here, and where there is hospitality, there is glamour.

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