A Ukrainian model has claimed that she was forced to participate in a notorious nude balcony photoshoot in Dubai.
Irina Sotulenko is among the women detained in the United Arab Emirates after stripping off on April 3 for pictures and video, which were shared on social media.
The 23 year old’s lawyer and boyfriend have expressed ‘deep concern’ over Sotulenko and the other detained women, who they say are out of contact despite being due to be deported back to Ukraine today.
In audio and video messages sent to her boyfriend before she was detained, Sotulenko railed at the wealthy Ukrainian-American man who organised the stunt.
Vitaly Grechin, 41, allowed the racy images to be posted online, which led to most of the group being arrested and detained by Dubai police.
‘All this because of the morons who came up with the idea to upload this to Instagram,’ she said, referring to Grechin as ‘a total d***’.
‘He is an adult man, how could he be such an idiot?’
She claimed that she had been forced to go out on the balcony or else she would not receive her pay for the modelling assignment.
‘I told them “Guys, we are in Arab country, let’s not show off.”
‘But, damn, we were forced to this balcony, took pictures and God knows what will be next.’
In a video message to her boyfriend, Sotulenko told him: ‘We were forced to this balcony in another hotel …
‘We were photographed naked on the balcony.
‘Someone took photos from another building.
‘Now Vitaly was summoned (to the police) and it looks like he will be sent to prison.’
In tears, she said: ‘Looks like we were told that they will sort this out.
‘Like there are acquaintances in the police and all will be okay
She said she saw Grechin – the organiser and funder of the trip to Dubai – as he was ‘escorted away by police’.
Sotulenko said she had rushed to the airport to fly home after the shoot but was ordered by authorities to return to the city and make a statement to police, after which she would be free to leave.
However she was detained and is reportedly unreachable after being allowed one phone call to her parents.
She was expected to be released today following an apparent agreement with Ukrainian authorities.
Families of the women are still hopeful they will be freed tonight.
Sotulenko’s boyfriend Vitaly, 30, said she knew that she was going to Dubai for a nude shoot – but not that it would be in a public place, which could lead to arrest.
‘They pushed them out onto the balcony,’ he said.
‘The girls began to be indignant, and asking why they were going there.
‘They said: ‘This is a Muslim country, for this we will all have problems. But they were told – “Do not forget who pays for it, please go to the balcony.”‘
‘So they went out onto the balcony and photographed them.’
Several hours later, Grechin and others organising the shoot were detained after the pictures were posted online, Vitaly said.
‘The girls were all in shock. Some immediately bought tickets and flew straight out of the country.
‘Those who did not were told they would be allowed to leave, but first had to make a police statement, he said.
‘They received a Telegram message: ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine. Come back to the hotel. Police will interrogate you and release you.
‘It turned out that they were a little deceived. Everyone who returned was taken to prison.’
Oleksiy Nosov, Sotulenko’s lawyer, said neither her boyfriend nor her family had heard from her since April 3.
They were told she should be deported by Monday but had had no news of her release.
‘The Consulate reported that one of the girls fell ill with coronavirus, she is kept separately, and this is not Irina,’ Nosov said.
The lawyer has asked for a ‘confidential conversation’ with Sotulenko, but said he had had no response from the Dubai authorities.
However he confirmed that she was able to call her parents for the first time on Sunday.
‘She said that she was in one piece and relatively healthy. The conditions in the cell are difficult.
‘They are in a cell without telephones, and are not told the date of their deportation to Ukraine.’