Brit sentenced to a month in jail in Dubai for drinking

A Brit facing jail over claims he indecently touched a businessman in Dubai has been sentenced to a month in prison for drinking alcohol, it emerged today.

Jamie Harron, 27, has been stripped of his passport and faces a three-year sentence over allegations he touched a leading businessman’s hip in a bar in the UAE.

But today it emerged that Mr Harron has been convicted and sentenced in advance of his trial on ‘public indecency’ for drinking booze in the strict Muslim country,

Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, Scotland, is accused of touching a Jordanian man’s hip in Dubai, has been convicted and sentenced for drinking, in advance of his public indecency trial

A spokesman for the prosecution service in Dubai confirmed the sentencing saying: ‘On the drinking charge, he has been sentenced to a month in jail, fined 2,000 dirhams (£412) and will be deported.

‘His next appearance on the public indecency case is on October 22.’

It is unclear whether Mr Harron is currently behind bars.

Mr Harron from Stirling, Scotland, admits he placed his hand on a man’s hip in a bar so they did not bump and spill their drinks, apparently sparking a ‘cultural misunderstanding’ but denies indecency.

He was arrested following the incident, jailed for five days before being released on bail.

Mr Harron lost his job and has been stuck in Dubai for the last three months where he has spent over £32,000 in expenses and legal fees trying to resolve the matter.

His alleged victim has been identified as the managing director of a global technology giant.

Emad Tabaza, a Jordanian national, is in charge of Neuman & Esser, a corporation producing machinery for other companies within the oil and gas industry.

He accused Mr Harron of public indecency after he tried to squeeze past him in the popular Rock Bottom Bar.

Mr Harron said: ‘I never knew how much stress I could endure until this happened and the waiting game is the worst.’

He denies the charge of public indecency, claiming his only intention was to avoid spilling a drink.

But tourists who consume alcohol at licensed venues in Dubai can still be arrested for having alcohol in their system.

Most visitors are not aware of this fact and a number of British nationals have been caught out by this contradictory application of the law.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained In Dubai, the British based NGO who is leading the campaign to help Mr Harron, said she has received more than 80 messages an hour offering support since the news broke.

She added: ‘Jamie’s case is not about knowing the law. He followed the law and has witnesses to support him.

‘This is a case of false and spiteful allegations being made against Jamie and the way that Dubai authorities have responded.

‘The complainant in this case has no evidence of any crime being committed but Jamie has been stuck in the UAE for more than three months.

‘Regarding the alcohol charges, of course, he was drinking, everyone was.

‘He was in a licensed bar. Informing tourists of the law does not help, when the entire enforcement system in the UAE needs an overhaul.’

Emad Tabaza has been approached for comment.