Scot jailed for touching man's hip in Dubai bar

A Scottish man has been sentenced to three months in prison for touching a man's hip in a bar in Dubai.

Sunday, 22nd October 2017, 6:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:40 am
Jailed Scot Jamie Harron, whose two-day break in Dubai turned into a nightmare.

Jamie Harron, who comes from Stirling, has been held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since being arrested in July.

He described the incident as a “cultural misunderstanding”, claiming he had simply been trying to avoid spilling his drink when he touched the man.

The 27-year-old had already been sentenced to a month in jail for drinking beer and had been facing a possible three-year jail term for the public indecency offence.

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Mr Harron, who worked as an electrician in Afghanistan, was on a two-day stopover in the UAE at the time of the incident on 15 July.

The German businessman who made the complaint against him later withdrew it, but prosecutors in Dubai continued with the case.

Mr Harron has lost his job and says he has spent more than £32,000 on legal fees and expenses so far.

News of the three-month sentence was released by campaign group Detained in Dubai, which has been supporting Mr Harron.

The group said lawyers acting for the Scot will appeal.

It is not yet clear if the sentence will run consecutively or concurrently to his earlier jail term.

Local reports said the Scotsman, who will be deported upon his release, was not in court for the verdict but has two weeks to submit an appeal.

In a recent phonecall he said his plans to begin a new career in Afghanistan had “back-fired”.

“Because of all this mess over a two-day stopover, I am in debt and stand to lose my house, everything I’ve worked for, and my freedom,” he said.

In a video made before he was sentenced, he thanked members of the public for their support during his ordeal.

“Your good wishes mean an awful lot, and they keep me hopeful for the future,” he said.

“All I want is to be back in Scotland with my friends and family, sleeping safe in my own bed.

“Love to you all, and thanks again. I’ll hopefully see you soon.”

His parents, Graham and Patricia Harron, claim their son’s life has been wrecked by the episode.

In a statement, they said: “People need to understand that it is not a joke to make complaints to the police, especially in that country.

“The consequences are very serious and they can ruin people’s lives, as they have Jamie’s.”

It is legal to buy and sell alcohol at licensed premises in Dubai but police in the strict Muslim territory can still arrest drinkers.