Dubai is a beautiful country with awesome beaches, great shopping and next level technology (they even build their own islands FFS), but going there as a Westerner can be a bit of a risk.
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Just ask Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, Scotland – he has only just been allowed to travel back home after being locked up and accused of serious sexual assault.
The electrician was forced to share a prison cell with suspected murderers and also lost his £60,000 life savings and a lucrative job in Afghanistan as a result of the prosecution against him.
He’s now spoken out about the night of July 15 when he was arrested after going to the Rock Bottom bar during a layover in Dubai.
So yeah, all Jamie did was brush past a man named Mr Tabaza who then called the police and accused him of sexually assaulting him. That’s all it takes – someone takes a disliking to you for whatever reason and you end up locked inside a grimy Dubai prison cell.
Police later told him he was facing charges for penetratively assaulting Mr Tabaza by sticking his hands down his shorts. Jamie says:
Of course I never did that – and I am not a homosexual.
He believes Mr Tabaza was jealous because he was talking to a waitress he had been interested in. What a cold, vindictive savage this Mr Tabaza guy is. This is him, by the way:
On the conditions Jamie endured at Al Barsha jail, where he spent 8 days:
I didn’t shower for four days, and I was just stinking. I would get a bit of time each day to walk on the prison roof, but it was 50C and I would become drenched in sweat almost immediately. I had no toothbrush for five days either, and no way to keep clean.
What’s more the prosecutors kept changing the charges before eventually settling on indecency, which Jamie was found guilty of on October 22. He was also convicted of consuming alcohol and making a rude gesture prior to his hearing.
Thankfully, he was cleared of the charges following international anger when campaign group Detained In Dubai got involved. Thank god for those guys.
Jamie has this warning to anyone planning to visit Dubai:
People should be very wary. The legal system in Dubai is a shambles and if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.’
Well yeah, just the fact a group named ‘Detained in Dubai’ exists should be fair warning enough. The name of the group alone suggests that this sort of thing happens more often than it should. One minute you’re chatting up the hot waitress at the bar, the next some jealous local businessman who fancies her has you arrested for ‘sexually assaulting’ him. I think I’ll skip out on Dubai until this stops being a thing that happens.
P.S. If you think Jamie’s story is bad, this British lady got arrested in Dubai for ‘having an extra-marital affair’ after she was gang-raped. Not kidding.