A fireman in Dubai has gone on trial accused of insulting a colleague by “stroking his palm” during a handshake.

Dubai Court of Misdemeanours was told the defendant made the gesture to his colleague to insinuate he was gay, according to 7 Days in Dubai.

The 39-year-old who works for Dubai Civil Defence denied charges on Tuesday of prosecutors who said he was known to mock and insult the 30-year-old complainant in front of colleagues.

The complainant said: “He always said in front of others that I’m gay. One day he shook my hand in a perverted way by rubbing his middle finger on my palm while shaking hands.”

He added that when he complained to his boss about the incident, an internal investigation was carried out and the defendant was sent a warning.

Despite this, he felt it was not harsh enough, so complained to the police.

He said: “I was transferred to another station and then the defendant became head of the old station.

“He asked me to come back and said if I didn’t he would hurt me.”

The defendant claimed the colleague had only lodged the case because he had a grudge against him.

He said: “He doesn’t have any evidence against me. I never gave him a perverted handshake.”

Article 177 of Dubai’s Penal Code imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years for consensual gay sex.

In June last year, a 24-year-old man in Dubai was sentenced to a year in prison and subsequent deportation after his gay relationship was discovered when his partner fell from a window.

In April 2012, a Dubai court sentenced a Scottish man to three years in prison, followed by deportation, after he was discovered having consensual sex with a man near a petrol station one night in 2011 February. A man who had been sleeping in his car nearby awoke and witnessed the act.