Jamie, 27, fac­ing term in Dubai jail

Charged af­ter in­ci­dent in crowded bar

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Marzella

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

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