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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Is This Justice?

During my thirteen years in Dubai, I usually had at least one friend or acquaintance who was in jail at any one time. Usually, they were found to be innocent of whatever it was they were accused of.

Farting in lifts, middle-finger-waving, driving with a miniscule amount of alcohol in your blood, having a poppy seed from a bread roll stuck to your jacket, even having smoked a spliff in a different country, not having the actual prescription (translated into Arabic) for the medications you have to take: these were all considered 'crimes' so serious as to justify a month in jail followed by deportation.

I consider myself very lucky to have avoided any personal incarceration during my time there (although I did have a scare when I once told an Iranian client to 'just pay the sodding bill' and a few days later received a letter from their lawyer).

So, the latest blot on Dubai's travesty of a legal system. A couple accused of kissing in public sentenced to a month in Al Slammer followed by a one-way flight home. The evidence in this case seems to be vague, contradictory and/or non-existent. It was the word of one Emirati woman, who didn't even turn up to any of the hearings. And who said, variously, the kissing was witnessed by her 2-year-old daughter (at 2am in a burger joint); or that she'd seen it herself.

Of course, the UAE is a sovereign country, and has the perfect right to make any laws it cares to. However, I do think the government (especially in Dubai) needs to think about the contradictory and negative image that cases like these are creating. On the one hand, they are desperate for tourist dollars, but on the other hand these stupid little 'crimes'  (which are just normal behaviour elsewhere) are punished out of all proportion to their severity.

And you can say 'well, tourists should learn about these things before they come', but it is not actually possible to do so. And if it was, I think a lot of people would just be too scared to visit.

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12 Comments:

Blogger ultra[blue] said...

However, I do think

And who do you think YOU are to THINK this or that?

High and mighty trash.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Ah, yes *who am I to dare to have an opinion*. I live in a free society and am entitled to express my thoughts in any medium I so choose. Bit I'll tell you this: I never, ever call anybody 'trash', especially when I don't actually know them. And you know what? This is my blog. I could delete your worthless comment, but I think I'll just leave it here, Mr/Ms/Mrs High and Mighty, and see what response we get. Is that okay with you?

9:15 pm  
Blogger Terry said...

Ignore Ultrablue, he's an unpleasant little troll with a chip on each shoulder the size of the Empty Quarter because he knows he and his fellow Emiratis would still be living in barasti huts and catching dhubs for their supper if it wasn't for Westerners paying them for the oil they needed Westerners to find in the first place.

10:26 pm  
Blogger Seabee said...

As you know Keefie I've been ranting about this for a long time. Not the law itself - kissing in public is deemed indecent in this society so I accept it and obey the law. Anyone who doesn't is stupid.

But to charge, sentence, jail, deport someone on the basis of no more than one person's say-so is a travesty of justice. Just as bad, the accuser doesn't bother to turn up in court and isn't required to. That's a long, long way from justice.

No need for evidence, no opportunity for the defence to question the accuser, no proof. But the accused is found guilty as charged on the unsubstantiated word of one person.

It gives every vindictive person an outlet for their rantings, they can simply call the cops to lodge a fictional complaint against anyone else, give a written statement and disappear to live the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile the innocent accused is jailed and deported, losing his livelihood.

BTW, ignore ultra[blue] - my theory is that he's an expat trying to create friction between Emiratis and expats. Like the spoof letters to 7Days, his opinions are deliberately extreme cliches.

10:18 am  
Blogger JC said...

ultra(blue) is a Pakistani chick.

12:24 pm  
Blogger JC said...

ultra(blue) is an attention-seeking and overweight Pakistani ugly-Betty that believes spewing out the usual internet-equivalent of bulimia will make her an anorexic.

7:32 am  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

So UltraTroll replied this morning, with a comment that insulted me, my mother, and all of you in a most disgusting manner. I really don't understand what would make someone do something like that. She (if she is a she) must have a chip on her shoulder the size of a planet. Trash, indeed.

3:51 pm  
Blogger Rajkumar said...

haha ... Really Enjoy your stories mate. I have been living in Dubai for the past 5 years and have found this rather stupid because there are MANY (by many I mean like 100+) people who kiss in public (including me)!
If you go to The Dubai Mall and observe, you'll surely find many youngsters (Emiratis too) kissing or doing "indecent" stuff. I think its highly unfair treatment with the two brits.
Lastly, Ultra[blue] is probably a little rascal, I wonder why did he read the article in the first place if it was so insulting to him[/her]!

7:34 pm  
Blogger anonymous said...

ultrablue = a blessing in tragedy.

7:33 pm  
Blogger anonymous said...

to prove it, find a page in which a blessing commented on and click his username and it forwards to ultra[blue]

7:36 pm  
Blogger Camel said...

I support Keefieboy and all others in this Blog except for "Ultra Bitch".

The dig has not fuggin clue what he/she writes. I jus saw a post he wrote on the dead indian families(Plane crash).

I was really disheartened after I read the post on AL-Emarati.

Ultra blue's nothin but an inhumane terrorist.!!

http://www.al-emarati.com/2010/05/rip-plane-victims.html

9:42 am  
Blogger Basit said...

In my opinion such strict rules in Dubai are putting a bad name to its reputation and causing a great loss for its travel and tourism industry. Dubai Government must reconsider such strict rules for foreigners in Dubai.

9:50 am  

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