Dubai Scot's warning to travellers: '˜It could happen to anyone'

A man detained in Dubai after being accused of touching a man's hip in a bar has warned that 'if this could happen to me, it can happen to anyone.'

Jamie Harron has been freed, according to his representatives after he was sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for touching a man's hip. Picture: Detained in Dubai/PA Wire
Jamie Harron has been freed, according to his representatives after he was sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for touching a man's hip. Picture: Detained in Dubai/PA Wire

Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, was kept in a windowless cell after bumping into a man while he was carrying a drink on a night out in the emirate.

He has now returned home to Scotland after being cleared of the alleged offences by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, after an international outcry and support from campaign group Detained in Dubai.

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In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, he said: “The whole thing was a nightmare from start to finish. This has ruined four months of my life – I lost all my savings, £60,000, and my job, and my reputation has been damaged.

“People should be very wary. The legal system in Dubai is a shambles and if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”

Businessman Emad Tabaza called the police and claimed Mr Harron had been “very drunk” and “repeatedly” touched him during the incident in July, but dropped his complaint after realising the punishment Mr Harron was facing.

Mr Tabaza alleged that Mr Harron had thrust his hand down his shorts and assaulted him, which Mr Harron, who was in Dubai as a stopover after working as a contractor for a construction firm on the Bagram military airbase in Afghanistan, insists did not happen.

“Of course I never did that – and I am not homosexual,” he said, adding that he believed the businessman could have been anoyed that Mr Harron had been speaking to an attractive waitress who he may have spoken to earlier.

He said: “As I passed this guy, with a drink in my hand, I put my hand out like you would in a pub when you’re passing somebody, it’s just natural.It was a tight gap with the table and I guided my way past him – I just scuffed him, like put my hand on him to move past and not spill my drink or lose balance. He then started saying something, but he was talking a foreign language. I apologised for pushing past him again.”

But Mr Harron says that the businessman, managing director of German engineering firm Neuman & Esser, became confrontational.

Mr Harron said: “Next thing I heard him say, in English, ‘Do you know who I am? I will make sure you are deported.’ At first I thought he was just having a laugh.”

The Foreign Office has said it provided consular assistance and said it had been in contact with Mr Harron.