Lawyers representing jailed Brits stonewalled by UAE Embassy

Published:  20 Feb at 6 PM
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Lawyers based in Dubai and London are fighting to help British citizens who’ve fallen foul of the emirate’s draconian laws and been unfairly jailed.

The Detained in Dubai group is becoming more and more frustrated by the refusal of the UAE Embassy to even meet with them to discuss the best way to end the regular imprisonment of innocent British expats and tourists. The number of unjustified arrests involving Britons seems to be on the increase, with several recent high-profile cases sparking worldwide media attention.

Detained in Dubai partner David Haigh is warning Dubai’s refusal to even discuss the issue may affect vital revenue from the tourist trade, with over a million overseas visitors arriving annually. Locking up innocent British tourists and expat business people who’ve unwittingly fallen foul of the UAE’s flawed legal system isn’t the way to attract high numbers of paying guests to the country.

Founded in 2007, Detained in Dubai’s mission isn’t to undermine the emirate’s legal system, it’s to protect unfairly-accused expats and tourists from imprisonment.
Recent cases include a Scottish expat jailed for touching an Emirati businessman on the hip, as well as making a rude gesture and drinking alcohol. The expat claimed he’d brushed past the man in an effort to avoid spilling his drink, but was held in prison for three months awaiting trial until Dubai’s ruler intervened and the charges were dropped.

A female expat from the UK was arrested and accused of having been witness to a fight between two of her friends and an unnamed man in their hotel lobby, with the charges against her friends transferred to her after they'd fled the country. She maintains she’s innocent, stating she hadn’t been in the lobby when the fight started. Another expat was arrested for fraud after he used a friend’s credit card in a restaurant.

David Haigh’s attempts to arrange a meeting between Detained in Dubai and the UAE Ambassador in London were rudely rebuffed when a hand-delivered letter was refused by the Embassy’s security staff, who instructed him to leave it outside on the doorstep. Subsequently, he stuffed it into the letter box, but is convinced it hasn’t been read. Haigh believes Dubai’s legal system is lagging far behind the country’s rapid change and modernisation and will harm the UAE’s reputation and eventually its economy.
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