Female British expat in Dubai facing prison for witnessing fight

Published:  30 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UK, Dubai, England
A young British expat who’s lived and worked as an account manager in Dubai for three years is now at risk of prison for witnessing a fight between Brits and a drunken Swedish man.

Asa Hutchinson was with a group of male friends in the lobby of a Dubai hotel when the men spotted a drunken expat asleep on a sofa and decided to take selfies with him. The Swedish man, aged around 50, woke up during the process and immediately hit out at the group. Asa’s friends backed off, but the Swede called the police, who arrived, arrested them and questioned Asa as to exactly what had happened.
he men were taken to a local police station, but managed to get their passports and flew back to the UK before they could be charged. Later, a horrified Asa found herself being arrested and charged with theft, fraud and assault. According to the Detained in Dubai legal group, once the police realised the group had fled and were now out of the country, their charges were simply transferred to Asa.

CEO of Detained in Dubai Radha Stirling explained that if two parties are arguing or in dispute, the first one to speak with police is the one who gets believed. In cases of this type, she added, it’s a race to get heard no matter what has actually happened. She said it’s perfectly clear Asa was simply a bystander and had no part in the violence, and is being victimised because the culprits have flown home.

Asa told reporters she’d wandered off whilst the selfies were being taken, but returned when the fight broke out. She insisted she wasn’t involved in any way, adding the police won’t listen to anything she says. Back in the UK, one of the men declined to speak with reporters about Asa’s plight or the incident. Asa’s mother is furious, accusing Dubai police of charging her daughter by association, and Asa, now fully aware she may go to prison from something she had no part in, is terrified.
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