Edinburgh man stranded in Dubai for two years after taxi row

David pictured in Dubai. Picture: SWNS
David pictured in Dubai. Picture: SWNS
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AN Edinburgh man was detained in Dubai for two years after an angry taxi driver accused him of failing to pay a £2 fare.

David Ballantine, 46, was trapped in UAE after his passport was confiscated following the mix-up – which eventually led to him being jailed for 69 days.

Former MP candidate David says his ordeal began in May 2013 with a mix-up over a ride in a state taxi.

The cabbie set off with the wrong people and when David asked him to stop the driver ignored him before pulling over near a policeman.

The driver angrily complained to the policeman who told David to pay the minimum amount of AED 10 (£2).

David went to an ATM a few metres away and withdrew cash. He dropped the money into the cab window and walked back over to his friends.

But the cabbie claimed he hadn’t paid and David was arrested and jailed.

He had his passport taken away and was held in Dubai for two years – including spending 69 days in jail.

David said: “He [the taxi driver] was waiting for me to pay and when he saw in his mirror that I had walked back to my friends, he reversed the taxi aggressively back to where my group was.

“He accused me of not paying. I told him I had, and showed him where it was. He claimed that was his own money.

“He was angry by now, and not wanting to admit that he could be wrong. The driver just became more and more hostile until he physically attacked me.

“At this point I became worried. I was in a fight, in Dubai, where I knew the law could be harsh.”

David was detained in the UAE for two years with his passport confiscated so he couldn’t leave Dubai before the trial. He was forced to sleep in hotel toilets, risking beatings from hotel security staff; and even being thrown down flights of stairs and assaulted in public restrooms by hotel security.

After the two years in limbo, David was ultimately jailed for 69 days, fined and deported. Since then David has been trying to get his life back together. His life savings gone, he has been in homeless units and on friends’ couches, but he is determined to fight his way back to success. He is currently trying to secure investment for a precious metal trading business in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh.