International News

Dentist jailed for Alcohol Consumption in Dubai

Dubai: In a news story appeared in The Guardian, a Swedish woman was held in Dubai for three days along with her four-year-old daughter after drinking a complimentary glass of wine on her Emirates flight to Dubai.

According to the report Ellie Holman, a dentist who lives in London with her English partner Gary was denied water and forced to clean toilets, rights NGO Detained in Dubai has claimed.  The NGO, formed to help people held in the United Arab Emirates, said Holman was arrested on July 13 after consuming a single glass of wine served on an eight-hour Emirates flight from London.

Upon arriving in Dubai, an immigration official questioned Holman on her visa and asked if she had consumed alcohol. The woman was then told her visa was invalid and she had to immediately return to London.

When she inquired about getting another visa and she was questioned on consuming alcohol, which she admitted. She began filming the official using her phone, incognisant of how it constituted an offence. Holman was also unaware regarding alcohol consumption being proscribed in the UAE.

Both, mother and child were then taken into custody and their phones and passports confiscated. Holman was asked for a blood sample to ascertain if she had consumed alcohol and denied a phone to call her partner while being held.

She said the pair were made to sleep on a “filthy” mattress and she was told to clean toilets and floors. “My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor. I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell,” she said.

Stirling demanded the Foreign Office and the UK government do more to ‘protect’ British citizens, and claimed airlines were ‘complicit’ and needed to be held accountable.

Holman’s ordeal, which saw both mother and daughter initially being denied food, water and access to a toilet, may turn into a year-long detention in Dubai while awaiting court hearing, the group said.

The UK Foreign Office and Dubai-based Emirates are yet to comment on the story.

August 11, 2018

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