Marnie Pearce released!
Great news this morning, that Marnie Pearce, a British woman jailed in Dubai for adultery, has been released. Amnesty has supported Marnie Pearce’s case from the outset and repeatedly called for her unconditional release.
The Sunday Mirror broke the story yesterday morning in an exclusive interview, which meant my phone never stopped ringing all Sunday. I even ended up with a BBC London TV crew filming an interview from my bedroom! All worthwhile though as the pressure we’ve helped exert on the authorities in Dubai does seem to have made a difference: it was only on the eve of a petition hand-in with Marnie’s supporters that the offer was made to suspend her deportation.
Bad news is that Marnie was told on Sunday that she was too late to appeal the custody ruling against her. But I’m certain that she and ‘Team Marnie’, the group of friends and supporters who have stuck with her throughout this ordeal, will be challenging that ruling in every way possible. Throughout this campaign I’ve been incredibly impressed by the dedication of her supporters both in Dubai and here in the UK: when we were due to go and hand-in the petition for Marnie at the Lonodn embassy, one woman I spoke to was getting up at 5am to come down from Lancashire.
Marnie should be allowed to challenge the decision to deny her custody. The authorities in Dubai should ensure that she gets a fair hearing in which the views of the children and both parents are fairly represented without discrimination. There are also allegations that there was violence within the marriage and that Marnie had to flee to a refuge. These weren’t even raised in the initial custody hearing, and they should have been.
So from Amnesty’s point of view our focus now moves away from Marnie Pearce to protecting the rights of her children. It’s nice to get some good news from Dubai for a change, but this story’s far from over.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.