Electrician sentenced to jail in Dubai for touching man’s hip, say campaigners
Jamie Harron said he put his hand on the man’s hip to avoid spilling a drink in a crowded bar.
A British man has been sentenced to three months in prison in Dubai for touching a man’s hip in a bar, according to campaigners.
Jamie Harron, 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.
The 27-year-old electrician had been working in Afghanistan and was on a two-day stopover in the United Arab Emirates at the time.
After his arrest for public indecency he lost his job and was told he could have faced up to three years in jail.
#jamieharron sentenced to 3 months in Dubai jail. Lawyers say they will appeal.— Detained in Dubai (@detainedindubai) October 22, 2017
Campaign group Detained in Dubai (DiD) said he was sentenced to three months imprisonment at court on Sunday but lawyers plan to appeal.
The group said Mr Harron is “angry, disappointed, and dreads what may happen next”. He is not currently in custody while the appeal is considered, DiD chief executive Radha Stirling said.
Mr Harron has already been sentenced in absentia to 30 days in prison for failing to appear at a court hearing for making a rude gesture and drinking alcohol during the same July incident.
DiD said the 27-year-old was not told about the court date in advance and that sentence is also being appealed against.
In relation to the alleged public indecency charge, 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.
Ms Stirling said: “Now Jamie has been sentenced to three months; there is no telling whether a judgment on appeal will be better or worse.
“He has already suffered tremendously as a result of these allegations, and now faces the likelihood of incarceration.
“His family was unable to visit him during this critical time because they faced a very real risk of imprisonment themselves under the UAE’s cyber crime laws which forbid criticism of the government.
“At this point, Jamie will definitely be pursuing civil action against his accusers when he does eventually return home, as it appears that he will not be able to find justice in the UAE.”
She added: “He feels betrayed and exploited by the system, which did not investigate the reports of key witnesses in his defence and led him to believe that the case would be dropped.”
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We have been in contact with a British man following his arrest in Dubai in July. We are providing consular assistance.”