Source: Pexels

It's illegal for people living in the UAE not to report unmarried couples who live together, as a 19-year-old Sri Lankan woman recently learned.

The young woman, now identified as B.K., was handed down a jail and deportation sentence "for failing to report to the police that her female roommate was living in with an unrelated male," Khaleej Times reported

The defendant was charged by the Sharjah Criminal Court and sentenced (in absentia) to six months in jail to be followed by deportation. 

In court, the judge was told police raided the woman's apartment after they received a tip stating that an unmarried Asian couple was living with her. 

Officers then arrested the couple, who are in their twenties and learned that B.K. was also living with them. During her questioning, the defendant told investigators she knew the couple was living together without being married. 

The couple were also found guilty of "beautifying sin"

The defendant's roommates were also charged in the case after being found guilty of "beautifying sin." 

"They were sentenced to one year in jail, to be followed by deportation," Khaleej Times wrote. 

In the latest hearing in the case, held on Tuesday, the couple's Sri Lankan roommate appeared in court and admitted she didn't report the couple to authorities. 

She explained that was because she is new to the country and didn't realize cohabitation was considered a crime in the UAE. 

The woman asked the court for mercy, saying she "had no intention" to commit a crime. However, she continues to face legal consequences because under UAE laws, "failure to notify the competent authorities of crimes is punishable by law."

Cohabitation is strictly prohibited in the UAE and across the Gulf

A couple living together outside of marriage is considered illegal across the UAE. The country also prohibits sex outside of marriage and often jails couples found violating this rule.   

Earlier this year, police arrested a Jordanian woman and her Emirati boyfriend after her father reported their relationship to authorities. 

In recent years, a UAE-based British woman received jail time and a deportation sentence for having consensual sex with an Emirati man. 

Another similar case was reported in 2016 when another British woman was charged with having consensual sex with a Pakistani man. 

A Japanese couple was also detained and interrogated after they were caught having sex on a Dubai beach. A Dubai court later handed the duo a one-month suspended imprisonment sentence and an immediate deportation order.