Briton sentenced to jail in Dubai for touching man’s hip freed, campaigners say
Jamie Harron was arrested in July.
A Scot who was sentenced to three months in a Dubai jail for touching a man’s hip has been freed, according to his representatives.
Ruler of the emirate Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum made a special order for cases against Jamie Harron to be dismissed.
The 27-year-old from Stirling was arrested in July over the incident in which he said he put his hand on a man’s hip to avoid spilling a drink in a crowded bar.
Campaign group Detained in Dubai (DiD) said he was sentenced to three months imprisonment at court on Sunday, but has now had his passport returned.
Radha Stirling, CEO of DiD, said: “We wish to express our deepest gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed for his personal intervention in this case, and for exonerating Jamie at long last.
“This was a courageous and honourable decision on the part of Sheikh Mohammed, and while it highlights the urgent need for judicial reform in the country, it is also a hopeful sign that the United Arab Emirates’ leadership possesses the will and vision to pursue such reforms in the future.”
The electrician had been working in Afghanistan and was on a two-day stopover in the United Arab Emirates at the time of the incident.
A public indecency charge was made after Mr Harron is said to have been holding a drink moving through a crowded bar and held a hand in front of him to avoid spilling it on himself or others. He then “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact”.
He was initially jailed for five days and then released on bail with his passport confiscated.
After his arrest, he lost his job and was told he could have faced up to three years in jail.
Before his hearing on Sunday, he had already been sentenced in absentia to 30 days in prison for failing to appear in court for making a rude gesture and drinking alcohol during the same July incident.
DiD had said both decisions would be appealed against, but Mr Harron was then called by police in Dubai on Monday morning telling him the cases against him had been dismissed and he could collect his passport.