Dubai: Tourist Touched Man to Avoid Spilling Drink, Faces Prison for “Indecency”

Have you ever had to put your hand out to touch someone, to stop them from bumping into you? It is a natural reaction, especially if you are trying to avoid spilling a drink in your hand. In America, we wouldn’t give that a second thought.

The rules are different in Dubai. A tourist on vacation in the country was arrested and currently faces a 3-year prison sentence for it.

Scottish citizen Jamie Harron was arrested for indecency, and then incarcerated for nearly a week, because he put his hand out and touched another man’s hip to avoid spilling his drink. Now he is not allowed to leave the country, as he waits for the trial.

Daily Mail UK reports:

Jamie, an electrician, had been having a drink at the with friends at a popular venue for young people in the Tecom area of Dubai when the incident took place.

Mr Harron and friend had just bought their first drink when they noticed a Jordanian man who was looking over at them from the edge of the dance floor in a ‘confrontational’ manner.

They decided to move to avoid any aggravation, but Mr Harron had to walk past the man, and as he passed, he placed his hand on the right hand side of the top of the man’s hip to ensure that when passing they didn’t bump and spill drinks ‘in a move familiar to most UK patrons of crowded pubs’.

While the man showed no sign of agitation as Jamie and his friend passed, he later became very animated before the police appeared outside.

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Breitbart reports that he’s spent over £30,000 already in legal fees and other expenses since he was detained. That is about $39,437 in US dollars.

“It is quite outrageous that he has been held in the country for so long already,” said Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai. “This is another example of how vulnerable tourists are to arrest and detention in Dubai and at how drawn out and disorganized legal proceedings are.”

The incident occurred as Harron was drinking in a crowded bar and “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact,” after which the man became aggravated. Police soon attended the scene and charged Harron with public indecency.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Harron’s father, Graham Harron, urged British authorities to increase warnings against tourists traveling to Dubai.

His father said, “Patricia (Jamie’s mother) and I have not been able to relax for a moment. We never dreamed we would have to face something like this.” He continued, “We can’t believe that this nightmare has gone on for three months. Jamie is a good boy. He has never been a problem and never in trouble.”

They are warning other people not to visit the country as they worry for their son. Graham Harron said, “People have to stop visiting that country,” he continued, “Since Jamie was arrested, I have researched and found that this is more common than any of us think.”

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