Parents of man facing jail in Dubai for touching man’s hip speak of worry

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The parents of a man who faces jail in Dubai have spoken of their worry for him as he is trapped in the UAE.

The Brit, Jamie Harron, says he briefly touched a man in order to avoid spilling a drink on him.

Harron, 27 was later arrested for public indecency after the incident at the Rock Bottom Bar.

He also faces a second charge relating to the drinking of alcohol.

Jamie Harron
Jamie Harron

His parents, Graham and Patricia have said they are breaking down with worry over their son who has been stuck in Dubai for months.

Speaking to TheGayUK, Patricia said: “I’m up all night worrying about what is going to happen to Jamie in court on Sunday… There’s no chance of sleep.”

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Graham adds: “Patricia and I have not been able to relax for a moment. We never dreamed we would have to face something like this. I wanted him to tell his story to the press but he really did not think it would be necessary. 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. We are a very close family and it is killing us to think of him spending even 3 nights in jail, let alone 3 years.”

He went on to say that they are worried about the outcome of hearings in the case.

Graham also added that they have been told that Jamie is likely to be taken into custody.

He also criticised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, saying it does not offer enough support for these kinds of situations.

Jamie says: “The whole thing is like a horrible dream and I just don’t know when it is going to end. I thought it would be over by now but it feels like it will never be. I am lucky I have friends to stay with but this has broken me, financially and emotionally. I am in debt because of the legal fees and won’t even be able to afford to appeal the case if it doesn’t go in my favour”.

The Stirling resident’s legal team have said he has been stuck in the UAE since July because his passport was confiscated by authorities when he was arrested.

His lawyers say he held out his hand in front of him whilst walking through the busy bar to avoid spilling his drink.

That was when he “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact” say his legal team.

The man who he touched was then said to have become annoyed.

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Around half an hour later, Harron was arrested by police but says he was jailed not knowing what charge he faced.

After being jailed in Al Barsha prison for five days, Harron has been released on bail.

But he says being unable to leave the country has seen him forced to spend £32,000 on legal fees and living expenses.

Speaking to Sky News, the chief executive of Detained in Dubai, Radha Stirling, said: “It is quite outrageous that he has been held in the country for so long already.

“This is another example of how vulnerable tourists are to arrest and detention in Dubai and at how drawn out and disorganised legal proceedings are.”

According to Stirling, Harron is under “immense pressure and stress”.

Since being arrested, he has been sacked from his job in Afghanistan.

He told STV: “I am really stunned that it has gone that far. I have witnesses who are willing to present themselves in court, even the bouncer at the bar.

“I cannot believe I am facing these allegations when I followed the laws in their entirety.

“Now it is possible that I will be arrested on Sunday for failing to appear at a court hearing that neither I nor my lawyer, were advised of.”

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Dubai in United Arab Emirates

She told Sky News: “He was expecting to appear in court this Sunday, but the court moved the date without telling him or his lawyer.

“This led to a sentence of 30 days’ imprisonment for failing to present himself at the hearing.”

According to other reports, a hearing was held in private on Sunday.

The Home Office says it has been in touch with Harron and that it is “providing consular assistance”.

Authorities can arrest in Dubai if a suspect has alcohol in their system even if they drink at licenced bars.