Man sent to prison in Dubai for touching another man’s hip
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Stroke of bad luck

Man sent to prison in Dubai for touching another man’s hip

Scottish electrician says he was just trying to steer through a crowded bar without spilling beer

A general view shows Burj Khalifa (C), the world's tallest tower, as the sun sets over Dubai on April 4, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB)
A general view shows Burj Khalifa (C), the world's tallest tower, as the sun sets over Dubai on April 4, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB)

A British man has been sentenced to three months behind bars in the United Arab Emirates for touching another man’s hip while trying to steer through a crowded Dubai bar, the Guardian newspaper reported Sunday.

Convicted of public indecency, Jamie Harron, 27, an electrician from Stirling, Scotland, said he had been trying to avoid spilling beer when he touched the man.

A group called Detained in Dubai, which advises on UAE law, said Harron would appeal the prison term and take civil action against his accuser, reportedly a senior employee at the engineering company Neuman and Esser.

The company said the accuser had tried to drop his complaint, but the campaign group said there was no documentation to prove this.

In a statement, Detained in Dubai said that Harron was “angry, disappointed and dreads what may happen next. He feels betrayed and exploited by the system, which did not investigate the reports of key witnesses in his defense and led him to believe that the case would be dropped.”

“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 cybercrime laws which forbid criticism of the government,” said Detained in Dubai’s chief executive, Radha Stirling.

She added that Harron had lost his job, faced losing his home and was having trouble covering his legal bills.

“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.”

Earlier this month, Detained in Dubai helped secure the release of another Scot — Bill Barclay, a plasterer from Edinburgh — who spent three days in a cell over allegations he had used a fake £20 note.

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