A British tourist is facing a three-year jail term in Dubai after being accused of public indecency earlier this year.
However, Jamie Harron from Stirling claims he only put his hand on a man in a bar so he did not “bump and spill drinks."
In addition, Detained in Dubai, the campaign group overseeing Harron's case, says the Jordanian man, who has accused the British tourist of the alleged offense, "was trying to show off his power in front of his friends."
Harron, an electrician by profession, had been working in Afghanistan. He was on a two-day stopover visit in the United Arab Emirates when his legal troubles began.
He, along with a friend, had just bought their first drink at the bar when they noticed a local looking at them in a "confrontational manner." Since Harron didn't want any trouble, they tried to walk past the man. While doing so, he placed his hand on the right hand side of the top of the man's hip to avoid spillage "in a move familiar to most U.K. patrons of crowded pubs."
However, that's when the Jordanian man began shouting and even threatened to get the Briton deported.
Shortly after the alleged incident, which took place on July 15, at the Rock Bottom Bar in Dubai, Harron was arrested for public indecency. He was later released but was told to remain in the city for future court appearances.
Harron's family says the court proceedings have taken a financial and emotional toll on them. Since July, they have spent nearly $40,000 in various expenses and legal fees.
"People have to stop visiting that country," said his father, Graham. "Since Jamie was arrested, I have researched and found that this is more common than any of us think."
It is indeed common for Western tourists in the U.A.E. to have brushes with the law. Despite all its infrastructural progressiveness, the country is deeply conservative Islamic, which makes Western visitors vulnerable to their stringent religious laws.
Banner/Thumbnail: Omr Mohamed/Reuters