Busker is ar­rested by po­lice in Dubai

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali Al Shouk @alial­shouk ali.shouk@7days.ae

A tourist who was play­ing his guitar for money in a Dubai mar­ket has been ar­rested and charged with beg­ging.

The French­man, 27, was ques­tioned and de­tained by po­lice on Novem­ber 1, Dubai Court of First In­stance heard yes­ter­day.

He was play­ing an Ara­bic-style oud guitar in Deira’s Gold Souk and had a blan­ket on the ground onto which passers-by were drop­ping money.

Pros­e­cu­tors said a po­lice pa­trol was in the area about 10.30am and spot­ted what was hap­pen­ing.

Dubai Po­lice said that they found a large amount of cash on the blan­ket when they ar­rested the man.

The tourist claimed that he did not know he was break­ing the law but ad­mit­ted to the charge.

He tes­ti­fied: “I was play­ing mu­sic and put a blan­ket on the floor, where peo­ple would place what­ever amounts of money they de­cide to pay me for en­joy­ing the mu­sic I’m play­ing. Then the po­lice came and ar­rested me.

“I have been trav­el­ling around the world and played mu­sic in pub­lic in re­turn for money.” He added: “I don’t ask peo­ple for money di­rectly, I just place a piece of cloth on the floor and then I play, if they like it they pay then I take the money.” The de­fen­dant, who said he was phys­i­cally fit and suf­fers no health is­sues, said he some­times sings too. He was sen­tenced to 15 days in jail to be fol­lowed by de­por­ta­tion. Dubai crim­i­nal lawyer Ali Mus­abeh told 7DAYS that busk­ing is banned un­der an­tibeg­ging laws. He said: “I un­der­stand this is fine in Euro­pean and other coun­tries but here in the UAE it’s il­le­gal and comes un­der laws de­signed to deal with beg­ging.” Mus­abeh said out­door street per­form­ing is only per­mit­ted if part of an or­gan­ised event and with a li­cence from Dubai Tourism. He said the max­i­mum penalty is one month in jail and a fine of Dhs3,000.

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