Dubai police confirmed on Wednesday that a report of an Asian woman drowning after her father blocked lifeguards from rescuing her, which was widely discussed on social media, dated from nearly two decades ago.
The report, first published by the Dubai-based Emirates 24/7 news website and picked up by several media including AFP, quoted a police official as saying the father had blocked lifeguards from saving his daughter because it would "dishonour" her to be touched by strange men.
Responding to a question from AFP on Twitter, Dubai police said the incident was not new.
"This is an old incident that dates back to 1996," police said, without providing any further details about the case.
Emirates 24/7 published the story this week without providing the date of the incident. It generated widespread interest on social networks including accusations media were disseminating an old story.
The website later updated the story clarifying that the source of the information on the incident, the deputy director of Dubai police search and rescue department Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Burqibah, was "recounting some of the worst incidents he had encountered in his tenure".
Burqibah had told Emirates 24/7 that when two lifeguards tried to help the drowning 20-year-old woman, her father "started pulling and preventing the rescue men and got violent with them."
"He told them that he prefers his daughter being dead than being touched by a strange man," Burqibah said, adding that the father was then arrested and prosecuted. The Asian man had "considered that if these men touched his daughter, then this would dishonour her. It cost him the life of his daughter," Burqibah said.