A British electrician is facing up to three years in a Dubai jail after brushing an Arab man on the hip with his hand.
Jamie Harron, 27, made light contact with a Jordanian man to avoid spilling his drink while moving through the crowded Rock Bottom Bar on a night out.
He was arrested for public indecency and then sentenced to 30 days in jail after he missed his hearing due to a mix up over dates.
Now he faces being arrested and jailed for up to three years when he turns up to his rescheduled hearing on Sunday.
His solicitor working with NGO Detained in Dubai said Mr Harron was now ‘under immense pressure and stress’.
It comes just days after Edinburgh plasterer Billy Barclay, 31, was released after being held for trying to swap a £20 note, which he did not know was forged, at a bureau de change in Dubai.
On the night of the incident Mr Harron, from Stirling, had been having a drink at the with friends at a popular venue for young people in the Tecom area of Dubai.
Mr Harron and friend had just bought their first drink when they noticed a Jordanian man who was looking over at them from the edge of the dance floor in a ‘confrontational’ manner.
They decided to move to avoid any aggravation, but Mr Harron had to walk past the man, and as he passed, he placed his hand on the right hand side of the top of the man’s hip to ensure that when passing they didn’t bump and spill drinks ‘in a move familiar to most UK patrons of crowded pubs’.
He said there was no intention to upset the man in any way. The man said nothing and didn’t show any reaction.
But once Mr Harron and his friend had sat at a new table, they looked over to see the man was now shouting and swinging his arms around, ‘clearly agitated’. Mr Harron asked his friend if he thought the man might be shouting at them.
Unsure, but not wanting problems, the British pair moved to another table, even further away.
After the incident was seemingly over, Mr Harron and his friend relaxed for another 20-30 minutes chatting when suddenly police appeared outside.
The man went out to meet them, and he began animatedly talking with them, pointing at Mr Harron, who got up and went to see what the problem was.
The man, his friends and the police were all speaking in Arabic, the accuser occasionally shouting in English, ‘He’s been drinking, and he touched me improperly, I will get you deported, do you know who I am?’
The police asked Mr Harron to apologise which he ‘gladly did’. But his accused was ‘not mollified’ and demanded police arrest him.
After days in Al Barsha prison, where he was not allowed to wash himself or brush his teeth, prosecutors told Mr Harron he was charged with drinking alcohol and ‘public indecency.’
He was left in a foul smelling cell with another eight nationalities sleeping on the floor with one ‘revolting’ mattress between them.
When he was released to stay with friends his passport was seized by police.
He failed to turn up to his hearing after the court moved the date without telling him or his lawyer which means he is now facing a further 30 days’ detention.
He has already spent over £30,000 in expenses and legal fees. His entire savings are gone, his company has sacked him, and when his case is eventually heard he faces further jail time and a hefty fine.
Detained in Dubai said Mr Harron had been to Dubai many times on holiday and ‘knows and respects’ the country’s laws.
Detained in Dubai said: ‘Jamie denies this latter charge vehemently, restating that his only intention was to avoid spilling a drink.
‘Tourists who consume alcohol at licensed venues can still be arrested for having alcohol in their system. Most tourists are not aware of this fact. A number of British nationals have been caught out by this contradictory application of the law.
‘When Jamie was in his prison cell the night of the arrest, his friend accompanied him to the police station. The accuser and his friends were also there.
The accuser’s friends were telling him to just drop the matter, and that he had taken it too far. Jamie’s friend was sitting next to them all and heard the whole discussion.
‘Jamie’s friend is acting as his witness, as is the sympathetic security worker of the pub where the incident happened. The bouncer saw the whole incident and confirms Jamie’s version of events.’
Jamie said today: ‘I am really stunned that it has gone this far. I have witnesses who are willing to present themselves in court, even the bouncer at the bar. I can not believe I am facing these allegations when I followed the laws in their entirety. Now it is possible that I will be arrested [on Sunday] for failing to appear at a court hearing that neither I, nor my lawyer, were advised of.’
She said: ‘He was expecting to appear in court but the court moved the date without telling him or his lawyer. This led to a sentence of 30 days imprisonment for failing to present himself at the hearing.
‘Jamie has been advised by his lawyer that he is at high risk of being jailed for a duration of up to three years. It is quite outrageous that he has been held in the country for so long already.
‘This is another example of how vulnerable tourists are to arrest and detention in Dubai and at how drawn out and disorganised legal proceedings are.
‘We have received a wave of new cases of British nationals detained in Dubai and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office need to increase travel warnings to citizens intending to visit or live in the country.
‘If Jamie is sentenced to prison, he faces human rights violations and torture. The English High Court has ruled against extradition to the UAE based on the ‘very real risk of unfair trials and torture’ but the UK government has refused to increase warnings, largely due to their financial and diplomatic ties with the UAE.
‘Both Jamie and his family are anxious for him to be back home in Stirling as soon as possible.’
His case follows that of Edinburgh plasterer Billy Barclay, 31, who was released this week after being held for trying to swap a £20 note, which he did not know was forged, at a bureau de change in Dubai.