Stirling Haigh Criminal Law Advisory helps secure the release of Abu Dhabi Transgender pair


A transgender Singaporean and her friend facing a year in prison in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a feminine way have seen their sentences reduced to a fine and deportation, an official said Monday.

Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, a transgender woman who has not undergone a sex-change operation, and her friend, freelance fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman, will pay a fine of 10,000 dirhams – about $2,270 – and be immediately deported, the official said.

A separate report on Monday in The National, a state-linked newspaper in Abu Dhabi, quoted an unnamed official as also saying the two would merely face a fine and deportation.

Their families and the Singaporean Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment.

The two Singaporeans were arrested in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, on Aug. 9. Police stopped them at Yas Mall as they tried to eat at a food court, said Radha Stirling, CEO of the advocacy group Detained in Dubai, and managing partner of StirlingHaigh

Abu Dhabi advertises itself as a tourism destination and is home to the long-haul air carrier Etihad Airways. However, the emirate bordering Saudi Arabia is more conservative than Dubai, the UAE’s commercial heart.

Even trips to Dubai can pose risks to LGBT travelers and others as laws sometimes contradict social attitudes.

Alcohol possession for foreigners is technically illegal without a government-issued license obtainable only after gaining their employer’s permission, though liquor and beer is widely available in bars and clubs in both cities. Foreigners also have faced charges in the past for having sex outside of marriage.

Press, Associated. “UAE Prison Time Dropped for Transgender Singaporean, Friend.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 28 Aug. 2017,


Singaporean man and trans woman sentenced to a year in jail each for ‘wearing women’s clothes in public’ in Abu Dhabi

A pair of Singaporean citizens have been arrested, charged and sentenced to one year in jail in Abu Dhabi for “wearing women’s clothes in public”, according to various media reports.

Radha Stirling managing partner of StirlingHaigh and founder and CEO of not-for-profit organisation Detained in Dubai first reported about the case, in which 26-year-old Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman and 37-year-old Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim were arrested on Aug 9, a day after they landed in the United Arab Emirates capital. Eleven days later, they were sentenced, despite having no legal representation.

An official court document stated that the two were caught “cross-dressing”, and for behaving indecently. Qistina is in the process of transitioning into a woman and had changed her name, but her gender is still stated as “male” on her passport. Cross-dressing, transgenderism and homosexuality are crimes in the UAE — if Qistina had been a post-op trans woman, the authorities would likely have had no rationale for the arrest. It is believed that the two Singaporeans were unaware of the strict laws regarding the “impersonation” of women. Both had been in the country to work on a photo shoot — Fadli is a freelance fashion photographer. The two were nabbed at a shopping mall.

According to a Straits Time report, Qistina had actually gone on holiday in the UAE four times before, and came home safely each time. As for Fadli, his brother mentioned that he had sent a selfie of himself wearing a “normal white shirt” just before he was arrested.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had informed their families about the arrests last week, and were only told about the prison sentence on Sunday. Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has personally assured the families that they’re assisting the Singaporean duo as best as they can.

What’s even more outrageous is the fact that the two were not represented by lawyers in court. They can however file an appeal 15 days after the judgement, which will be on Sept 4.

 David Haigh of UAE legal advisory firm Stirling Haigh called for clearer definition and application of the law — strict regulations and punishments exist despite the overt existence of gay and transgender communities and venues throughout the region.

“I call upon the UAE authorities to immediately release our clients and return them to their home,” he said.

CoconutsSingapore. “Singaporean Man and Trans Woman Sentenced to a Year in Jail Each for ‘Wearing Women’s Clothes in Public’ | Coconuts Singapore.” Coconuts, 24 Aug. 2017,

Stirling Haigh founder David Haigh talks to the Telegraph about Stirling Haigh & Justice

It is a sunny morning in Penzance, and for the newest recruit to the board of the town’s local football club, there is an almost inordinate amount of pleasure to be had in thinking up ways to raise the £10,000 required to fix the broken floodlights at little known Penlee Park.

In an area where football is very much rugby’s poor relation, there is also the task of encouraging the local sports shops in this sleepy seaside resort on England’s most south-westerly tip to find room on their shelves to stock Penzance AFC’s replica shirt…

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Stirling Haigh Directors to give evidence in Scottish Extradition

Stirling Haigh managing directors Radha Stirling and David Haigh have been invited to give evidence at an extradition hearing of a Scottish man in Edinburgh.

The Government of the UAE are attempting to extradite a Scottish man to the UAE. Miss Stirling will provide expert testimony and Mr Haigh will provide eye witness testimony on the conditions within the jails, specifically torture, mistreatment and discrimination.

Continue reading “Stirling Haigh Directors to give evidence in Scottish Extradition”

Stirling Haigh appointed by British Businessmen Peter Margetts

Peter is a British businessman, currently serving a life sentence for bounced business cheques, cheques which bounced through no fault of his own. After appointing a number of law firms and consultants over the last eight years, which had a disastrous result on Peters case, Peter has appointed Stirling Haigh to work on his case.

Peter, a British property developer, was arrested for bounced cheques, when his investors presented cheques written in advance.
Peter’s family returned to Europe and he is allowed only limited visitations on weekends from friends. Peter has been hoping to have his cases consolidated so that his sentence can be reduced from 27 years.

Peter says he should have left and negotiated from abroad but he wanted “to do the right thing” and resolve matters in Dubai, hoping he would be able to stay in Dubai and turn business around.

Unfortunately, Peter is now with countless others in a Dubai jail where he faces effectively a life of imprisonment. At over 50 years old, this sentence equates to the rest of his life behind bars over a business arrangement, leaving his wife and children alone.

Stirling Haigh launch UAE Service

Stirling Haigh is a London based international dispute resolution, crisis management and strategic advisory firm which specialises in complex criminal and civil disputes in Dubai, the wider UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Our partners are considered the leading authorities on UAE criminal and civil law and its justice and prison system. We consult to businesses, entrepreneurs, international law firms, charities, NGOs, politicians and media on legal issues in all of the Gulf Countries.

Stirling Haigh was established by Radha Stirling and David Haigh.

Radha established the non-profit “Detained in Dubai” nine years ago to assist those facing civil and criminal disputes in the UAE. Radha established Detained in Dubai following her colleague detention in Dubai and in response to demand and continues to assist people in extreme circumstances.

David Haigh is an award winning English lawyer and the former managing director of Leeds United Football club and Deputy CEO of a Dubai Investment bank. David was the victim of a fraud by his former employers which saw him detained in Dubai for 22 months before an acquittal on Twitter slander changes. David wants to turn his negative experiences into something positive by using his experience and expertise to help others.

From the outset Stirling Haigh acted in everything from simple bounced cheque case to large-scale commercial litigation, extraditions, criminal investigations and prosecutions and regulatory investigations across the globe. We have a track record of successfully representing individuals and companies against banks. large financial institutions, prosecutors and Governments.

Our base in London combined with our unique approach enables us to be truly independent, free from the regulations that restrict Middle Eastern law firms from giving you the best advice and the best expertise and free from conflicts of interest that would preclude law firms from acting in this type of litigation. We are able to pick the best team to work for you. Our clients are mainly referred to us by Embassies, Consulates, law firms, barristers and other professionals.

Our cases are often multi-jurisdictional, high profile and frequently involve PR, campaigning, social media, investigations, and forensic and other expert evidence. Stirling Haigh, is not a law firm. We have a comprehensive and international network of lawyers, barristers, investigators, accountants, PR and other professional advisers and experts to support us and you during pre-trial litigation, at trial and after trial.

We enjoy a reputation for being formidable, fearless, innovate, independent and taking a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving and winning cases in the most challenging of circumstances. When your back is against the wall, we will be there to support you.