British Man Faces Three-Year Prison Sentence After Accidentally Touching Another Man’s Hip in Crowded Dubai Bar
A young Scottish man has been arrested and is facing a potential three-year prison sentence in Dubai after accidentally touching another man’s hip in a bar. The 27 year old electrician is said to have been holding his hand in front of him whilst moving through the crowded bar to avoid spilling his drink on himself or others. He then “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact”.
He has been detained in the UAE since July and is reported to have spent more than £30,000 in expenses and legal fees. Radha Stirling, chief executive at campaign group Detained in Dubai, said “this is another example of how vulnerable tourists are to arrest and detention in Dubai and at how drawn out and disorganised legal proceedings are.”
Police arrived at the scene “20 to 30” minutes after the incident and arrested Jamie Harron. He faces charges of alcohol consumption and public indecency.
Mr Harron is said to have been held at Al Barsha prison for five days before being released on bail, albeit with his passport confiscated. Ms Stirling added: "I have spoken to Jamie today who is under immense pressure and stress. He was expecting to appear in court this Sunday, but the court moved the date without telling him or his lawyer.
"This led to a sentence of 30 days' imprisonment for failing to present himself at the hearing."
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: "We have been in contact with a British man following his arrest in Dubai in July. We are providing consular assistance."
However, Mr Harron’s father alleges that the FCO have been unhelpful, stating that “The UK embassy has not done anything to help and seem to think it is absolutely fine for British nationals to be abused in this way. People have to stop visiting that country. Since Jamie was arrested, I have researched and found that this is more common than any of us think. It is unacceptable the FCO actually promotes the UAE to British tourists.”
"Questions need to be answered as to why there is no advice about these incidents on the UK FCO website," Graham insists, "and where are the embassy staff who should be offering emotional and practical support to both Jamie in the UAE and his family back home in Stirling?"
Jamie adds, “the whole thing is like a horrible dream and I just don’t know when it is going to end. I thought it would be over by now but it feels like it will never be. I am lucky I have friends to stay with but this has broken me, financially and emotionally. I am in debt because of the legal fees and won’t even be able to afford to appeal the case if it doesn’t go in my favour”.
In a statement Radha Stirling said, “Jamie’s local MP, Stephen Kerr, contacted me today to ask whether he should intervene and we have requested he do so. This case has been brought to the attention of the UAE government who we hope will intervene and stop the injustice. More and more British nationals have written Dubai off as a possible holiday destination in light of several recent high profile arrests and we are inundated with more stories of legal abuse. We are hoping to work with the UAE government to make improvements to make the country safer for tourists, expats and investors. We are all anxiously awaiting to see whether Jamie is jailed tomorrow for previously not turning up to a court hearing that neither he, nor his lawyer, were advised of”.