It's important to remember that in the U.A.E, adultery is a crime. Even if you aren't married, having sex with another person is still considered adultery. While it is not nearly as severe as in countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran, the consequences can be life changing. Two items in the news today are good examples of this.
In the first article (click here to read the whole thing), a Filipino woman in her 20's fainted. Once she was taken to the doctor, she was found to be pregnant. When it came to light that she was unmarried, she was forced to reveal who her boyfriend was. While the lady in question wasn't married, her Filipino boyfriend turned out to be. His wife and kids are still in the Philippines. As far as I can tell, both the woman and her boyfriend are being held. As is often the case, Asians are considered a lower class than Emiratis or even Europeans or North Americans so their punishment in crimes is often more severe.
That's why this next case seems to be that much more surprising. A British woman is facing a prison term and the loss of custody of her children after being convicted of adultery (click here to read the article). She and her Egyptian husband had recently had marital troubles. The truly shocking part of the story is that she has been convicted without proof and maintains that nothing ever happened. Her ex-husband and police burst in on her while she was having tea with an acquaintance. By all appearances, this is a case of her husband's attempt to frame her so he can get custody of the kids.
While both stories are out of Dubai, I think they are appropriate to how things are in Abu Dhabi. I would also have to say that they are an exception more than the norm. However, reading about things like this does wake a person up to how the country is run.