British expat in UAE fined and deported for volunteering

Published:  2 Nov at 6 PM
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A British expat volunteer worker who’d fundraised online to help two sick children had been fined Dh5,000 and is to be deported.

The woman was reported to UAE police last December by the UAE’s Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, accusing her of using her volunteer website to solicit donations for medical treatment for two young children suffering from liver conditions. Having been accused in court last June of violating the emirate’s rules in charity fundraising, she was initially found not guilty.

However, prosecutors filed an appeal which resulted in the verdict being reversed, and the court ordered the fine and her deportation within 30 days. According to local media, she is still insisting she is innocent, saying she had never raised funds online.

‘It never happened’, she told reporters, adding that as soon as she had become aware of the new laws regarding fundraising, she closed down all her non-compliant projects as she was determined to stay legal and abreast of rule changes. She believes the charges were the result of a simple mis-translation, insisting she had not written ‘donate’ but had used the word ‘subscribe’.

This one unfair accusation, she said, has ruined everything she’s tried to do to help those in need with her heartfelt volunteer work. She’s spent the last nine years volunteering in Dubai, and is heartbroken she’s lost her health and her life as a result of a translation error.

She’s now afraid she won’t be able to adopt a child as she will have a criminal record. She has 30 days to appeal her deportation, an expensive exercise, but said she’s happy to leave after what happened and considers appealing would be a waste of money. Sadly, she still has to decide what to do with her rescue dogs, and is hoping she can find a away to take them with her.
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