David Ballantine another victim of the UAE legal system
Scot David Ballantine was forced to stay in Dubai without his passport for two years over a false allegation of not paying a taxi fare.
There had been some confusion with the taxi driver setting off with the wrong people in the car. David had told the taxi driver to stop, but the driver ignored him for 50 metres before pulling over near a policeman. The driver angrily complained to the officer, who told David to pay the minimum amount of AED 10 (£2).
The Scottish victim said: “The driver must not have seen the note I dropped through his window. He accused me of not paying. I told him I had, and showed him where it was. He claimed that was his own money. He was angry by now, and not wanting to admit that he could be wrong.”
“It was really so ridiculous because he was getting angry over nothing. If I made any mistake it was my insistence that, yes, I had already paid him,” he added.
David was detained in the UAE for 2 years with his passport confiscated so he couldn’t leave Dubai before the trial. David couldn’t work legally, so he worked ‘off the books’ for the first year.
After the two years in limbo, he was ultimately jailed for 69 days, fined and deported. Ironically one of the charges was ‘overstaying his visa’; a charge he could hardly have avoided because the police had confiscated his passport.
Since then David has been trying to get his life back together. His life savings gone, he has been in homeless units and on friends’ couches, but he is determined to fight his way back to success.
The UK government did nothing to help, according to David. “They visited once, and gave me a list of lawyers that I couldn’t afford. The only people who have helped following my release are Detained In Dubai, specifically their CEO, Radha Stirling.
Stirling said: “Unfortunately, David’s case is not unusual. We are approached by dozens of cases a week where Brits are detained and experience unfair treatment. Recently Billy Barclay and Jamie Harron made the headlines, but these individual cases only reflect endemic problems with the UAE legal system.”