Parents face jail for visiting Scot charged in Dubai
The parents of a Scot who is facing jail in Dubai for touching a man in a bar have been warned that they could be arrested if they visit him in the UAE.
Jamie Harron, 27, has been stuck in Dubai following allegations of touching a German businessman in a crowded bar in July.
He is facing three years in a UAE prison if found guilty when he appears in court.
His parents, from Stirling, Scotland, now want to visit their son in Dubai but have been warned they could be jailed for speaking out against the government.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai who is representing Mr Harron, has advised them they are at risk of being charged under the UAE’s Cybercrime Laws.
Ms Stirling said: “Jamie’s parents want to visit him during this difficult time.
“I have advised them that they are at risk of being charged under the UAE’s Cybercrime Laws for speaking negatively about the regime and that the coverage of this case should offer them some protection.
“But technically, they could be jailed for this crime.”
Criticising the UAE government, companies or individuals, or related to incidents in the UAE may be considered a crime punishable under UAE law.
And there have been cases of individuals being detained, prosecuted and convicted.
Earlier this week, Mr Harron’s parents, Graham and Patricia spoke about how their son’s life has been ruined because of the ordeal.
It comes after German businessman Emad Tabaza called the police and claimed Mr Harron had been “very drunk” and “repeatedly” touched him during the incident in July.
The German businessman dropped his complaint after realising the punishment Mr Harron is facing.
And the company which Mr Tabaza works for, Neuman & Esser, revealed the withdrawal in a statement.
But Mr Harron’s family says the “consequences are very serious and they can ruin people’s lives”.
Dad Graham said: “We were really surprised to see the statement of the company.
“They said he had dropped the charges in August but they never spoke to our lawyer and nothing changed.
“Our son is still being prosecuted and still faces jail time.
“People need to understand that it is not a joke to make complaints to the police,
especially in that country.
“The consequences are very serious and they can ruin people’s lives as they
Mr Harron has lost his job as an electrician and is now in debt after having to spend £32,000 while stranded.
Ms Stirling says she has dealt with a number of travellers charges under the cybercrime laws.
She claims people are at “extreme risk because of their social media.”
And now the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has come under fire for not properly warning Brits about the risk of travelling to the UAE.
Ms Stirling said: “The FCO does not warn people that just about all visitors to the UAE will be in breach of social media laws and could be arrested if someone makes a complaint about them.”
She added: “We have received at least 50 or 60 telephone calls from members of the public in the past week, telling us that they have cancelled their holiday to Dubai”.
Speaking from Dubai Mr Harron said the “whole situation was unbearable” and that he was “shattered”.
Mr Harron was on a two day stop over in Dubai on his way to work in Afghanistan.
He said: “I took this job in Afghanistan in a risky situation because I wanted to give myself a good start in life.
“I wanted everything right and organised for the future. It’s all backfired now.
“Now because of all this mess over a two-day stopover, I am in debt and stand to lose my house, everything I’ve worked for, and my freedom.
“All of the support from everyone back home has just made me feel so homesick. I miss my family so much.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman added: “We have been in contact with a British man following his arrest in Dubai in July. We are providing consular assistance.”