Jamie, 27, facing term in Dubai jail
Charged after incident in crowded bar
Stirling’s MSP called on the Foreign Office to intervene in the case of a Cambusbarron man facing a three-year prison sentence in Dubai.
Bruce Crawford was commenting on the case of Jamie Harron (27) who has had his passport confiscated and has been trapped in the city in the United Arab Emirates since July.
He faces being jailed for drinking alcohol and public indecency.
Jamie says he touched a man’s waist to avoid bumping into him in a Dubai bar.
He had been walking through the crowded Rock Bottom Bar holding a drink, with his hand in front of him to avoid spillage, when he touched a man on his hip.
Adult non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels or at home with the possession of an alcohol licence.
But it is a punishable offence to drink or to be under the influence of alcohol in public.
Mr Crawford said: “I’m very concerned that Mr Harron has been detained for so long and, based on media reports, faces such a disproportionate and harsh sentence.
“The Foreign Office must do all it can to support Mr Harron during what must be an extremely stressful time and I have written to the Foreign Secretary to seek these assurances. I hope to see Mr Harron returned home safely and as soon as possible.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said that it was “providing consular assistance”.
Stirling MP Stephen Kerr has also made enquiries into the case.
Mr Harron, an electrician, had been working in Afghanistan and was on a two-day stopover in the Arab state when the incident happened.
He was initially jailed and forced to share a cell with eight other nationalities in Al Barsha prison, with one mattress between them.
He was bailed but it was expected he would have been arrested at a hearing on Sunday for failing to appear at a previous court date, which was moved without notification.
He was not arrested but has been ordered to remain in the city for future court proceedings.
Jamie has since lost his job and his worried family have spent thousands of pounds in legal fees trying to get him home.
Campaign group Detained in Dubai have been helping Jamie through the court action and a verdict may be reached within the next two weeks.
Their chief executive Radha Stirling said: “The process is unpredictable. In a worst case scenario he would face imprisonment and in a best case scenario the charges will be entirely dropped.
“Al Tamimi law firm, one of the largest in the Middle East, have said they have raised these issues with the UAE government and hope that the laws will be updated to prevent tourists being imprisoned unnecessarily.
“We are seeking to work with both the UAE and UK governments to assist with recommendations for judicial changes.”
Jamie is not the only Scot to have had a brush with the law in Dubai this month. Edinburgh man Billy Barclay faced criminal proceedings over an alleged counterfeit £20 note but was later released and returned home.
Ms Stirling added: “Jamie’s case and that of Billy Barclay have received extensive media coverage and travellers are expressing great concern about travel to Dubai.
“In our 10 years of operation we have dealt with thousands of similar cases and unfortunately Jamie’s case is not even unusual.
“We have advised the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the past to increase warnings to British nationals intending to travel or live in the UAE but they have so far declined, largely due to their diplomatic and trade arrangements
Jail threat Jamie Harron with his parents Graham and Patricia