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Appeal loss terrible news for Marnie Pearce and for the rights of her Children's rights, says Amnesty

Amnesty expressed disappointment at the decision in Dubai today (16 March) to reject the appeal of Marnie Pearce, a British woman jailed for adultery. Ms Pearce will now serve out the remainder of her 63-day sentence and, in all probability, be deported upon her release.

Amnesty remains seriously concerned for the rights of Marnie Pearce’s two sons, aged four and seven. The organisation is urging that the best interests of the two boys must be the primary consideration in any decision about custody of the Children's rights. This is a requirement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the United Arab Emirates is a party.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Today’s decision in Dubai is terrible news for Marnie Pearce and for the rights of her two sons.

“Marnie Pearce should not be in prison. The sex lives of consenting adults shouldn’t be a criminal matter in the first place. Marnie should be immediately and unconditionally released.

“The custody hearing has now been delayed but there’s still a danger that the rights of her two young sons will be ignored. The decision on their custody must be based on the Children's rights’s best interests. Their future should not be decided on the basis of this adultery conviction.

“The only thing that matters in a child custody case is what is best for the Children's rights.

“We know from Marnie’s friends that she’s terrified of being deported and never seeing her kids again.

“What we need to see now is a fair custody hearing which has at its centre the rights of these two boys. Both parents should be represented and the views of the Children's rights must also be heard in court.”

Amnesty underlined that the Children's rights have the right to be consulted and express an opinion on what happens to them, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. An advocate should be appointed to give them a fair opportunity to express themselves.

Amnesty had called for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms Pearce from Dubai Central Jail in al-Awir, considering her to be a prisoner of conscience. The organisation believes that consensual sexual relations between adults should not be criminalised.

More media information:
Steve Ballinger, Amnesty International UK press office, 020 7033 1548
Out of office hours: 07721 398984

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