A British waiter who moved to the Gulf to turn his life around is facing two years in a prison where he ‘sleeps in a room with 25 people where no one speaks English’ after officials found cannabis in his system.
Connor Clements, 24, upped and left Liverpool earlier this year after getting ‘stuck in a rut’ in the UK.
With his sister already living in Dubai he was hopeful things would get better and managed to land a job as a waiter.
But things took a ‘horrific’ turn when the results of a medical test carried out by his new employers came back with traces of cannabis.
The 24-year-old insists the drug was in his system from before he boarded his flight to the United Arab Emirates.
Connor Clements (pictured), 24, upped and left Liverpool earlier this year after getting ‘stuck in a rut’ in the UK. But things took a ‘horrific’ turn when the results of a medical test carried out by his new employers came back with traces of cannabis
But he was sentenced to two years in prison during a court hearing he claims ‘lasted less than a minute’.
He said: ‘They are saying I smoked it here – but I did [it] back home, they have got no proof… I used to smoke a lot back home.
‘I came here to stop everything. It was a chance for me to change my life. But it’s been nothing but a nightmare.
‘I was in a rut. My sister lives here and I had an opportunity to change my life and it’s been nothing but a living nightmare… I haven’t committed a crime in the UAE.
‘I was coming over here to totally change my life around. I had a new job and met loads of nice people.’
The 24-year-old insists the drug was in his system from before he boarded his flight to the United Arab Emirates. Pictured: Dubai
After several weeks in prison, he has now been bailed ahead of an appeal hearing just before Christmas.
He describes the experience as a ‘living nightmare’.
He said: ‘The prison is atrocious. I didn’t even go outside once.
‘It was a living nightmare. They put me in a room with 25 people, I was sleeping on the floor. I didn’t know what to do. I can’t speak Arabic.
‘No-one spoke English. It was outrageous. I don’t want to go back in prison.’
The Everton local tried to explain what happened to judges but was told he wasn’t allowed.
Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, was sentenced for public indecency in Dubai earlier this year
His passport has now been confiscated and if he doesn’t win the next appeal, will be locked up in the Dubai jail for the next two Christmases.
Mr Clements spoke out ahead of his appeal hearing in the hope of raising awareness of his plight, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Our staff in the UAE are assisting a British man following his detention in Dubai.
‘We have visited him on several occasions, made calls to the prosecutor’s office to get updates on his case, and are in regular contact with his family.’
Over 200 UK citizens have been detained in the UAE in 2017 alone.
According to the FCO, the Emirati authorities have a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and count the presence of illegal substances in the bloodstream as possession.
Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, Scotland was sentenced for public indecency in Dubai for brushing against a man’s hip in a bar.
He was held there for three months before being allowed to fly home.
A charity called Detained in Dubai has been set up to ‘assist people who have become victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates’.
The non-profit organisation works with lawyers and the press to ensure the safe homecoming of non-UAE nationals detained there.