A lesbian couple allegedly tricked by a disapproving father into flying to Dubai – where homosexuality is illegal – has been found in a Turkish detention centre.
Shaza Ismail’s father tricked her and her girlfriend Maria Jimena Rico Montero into making the trip by saying her mother – who lives there – was on her deathbed, according to Montero’s family
However, when the women – who are both British residents – arrived in Dubai, they found Ismail’s mother was happy and healthy.
Realising their perilous situation, Ismail and Montero quickly flew to Georgia.
But Ismail’s father caught wind of this development and is understood to have tracked them down to the airport in Georgia before confronting the pair as they waited to board a flight back to London.
He ripped up his daughter’s visa and took both her and Montero’s passports, the Mail Online has reported.
Montero, 28, told her family her girlfriend’s father had a lawyer and that their actions had led to her and Ismail being detained for 10 hours in the Georgian airport before being released.
The couple convinced a friend back in Britain to book a hotel room in Istanbul for them, before getting a coach on Monday to take them there.
It was meant to take the pair nearly the full width of Turkey – more than 1,000 miles – but they never made it.
Her mum Teresa said that Montero had messaged her before boarding the coach to say: “If I don’t call at midday, it’s because something happened to me”.
“She never called,” her mother said.
It emerged today that Montero and Ismail were arrested for having no passports and held by authorities in a detention centre ahead of their deportation.
They are understood to be safe and well.
Same-sex couples can be imprisoned for up to 10 years for consensual sex in Dubai, which is in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2012, a 24-year-old man was sentenced to a year in prison and subsequent deportation after his gay relationship was discovered in Dubai.
And earlier this year, a man spoke out about how he was violently threatened and robbed during a Grindr hook-up in Dubai.
He feared it was part of a systematic targeting of gay visitors, after more men came forward.