Scottish man facing jail time in Dubai for touching another man in a bar

A 27-year-old Scot is facing a possible three-year jail term after he touched another man on the hip in a Dubai bar, British media reported on Saturday (Oct 7).
A 27-year-old Scot is facing a possible three-year jail term after he touched another man on the hip in a Dubai bar, British media reported on Saturday (Oct 7). PHOTO: AFP

A 27-year-old Scot is facing a possible three-year jail term after he touched another man on the hip in a Dubai bar, British media reported on Saturday (Oct 7).

According to the BBC, Mr Jamie Harron - from the city of Stirling in central Scotland - was arrested for public indecency on July 15 and held for five days in Al Barsha prison before being released on bail.

Mr Harron's representatives told the BBC that he was trying to prevent his drink from spilling at the crowded Rock Bottom Bar when he put his hand on the man "to avoid impact".

Half an hour later, the police arrived at the scene and arrested him. Along with public indecency, Mr Harron was also charged with drinking alcohol.

He has been stuck in the United Arab Emirates since as authorities had confiscated his passport. He has also incurred more than £30,000 (S$53,600) in living expenses and legal fees.

Ms Radha Stirling, chief executive of campaign group Detained in Dubai, said it was "quite outrageous" that Mr Harron was being held for so long.

"I have spoken to Jamie, who is under immense pressure and stress," said Ms Stirling. "He was expecting to appear in court on Sunday, but the court moved the date without telling him or his lawyer. This led to a sentence of 30 days' imprisonment for failing to present himself at the hearing.

"This is another example of how vulnerable tourists are to arrest and detention in Dubai and at how drawn-out and disorganised legal proceedings are," she added.

In response to queries from the BBC, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: "We have been in contact with a British man following his arrest in Dubai in July. We are providing consular assistance."