A British tourist who was fined in February last year after an alleged altercation to staff with Dubai International Airport has just lost the appeal and is not facing 3 months in a Dubai prison.
In February 2022, the unnamed man got into a dispute with staff at Dubai airport over the provision of a wheelchair for his mother. According to court testimonies, reported by UAE media The National, the tourist first approached an information desk to ask about his flight. “The British passenger approached me with inquiries about their flight schedule and to verify their boarding passes”, the desk employee told judges. She informed him they would need to take a shuttle bus from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 and “informed him a wheelchair would be made available before boarding the bus.”
According to the employee, the man first left, but soon returned to the desk after seeing another traveller at the shuttle bus already having a wheelchair and asked more questions about the service being provided for her mother. “I saw the traveller repeatedly asking an airport desk employee about the wheelchair and expected that he might have not understood her explanation. When I tried to explain it to him, he insulted me using very bad language”, another airport employee said in court. “I told the traveller that using such offensive language is not allowed at Dubai airport but he responded that he didn’t care”, the second employee added.
The police was called to the scene and the man was fined 10,000 UAE Dirhams (€2,514). He appealed the fine, but, on 6 November, the Dubai Court of Appeal ruled against the tourist. Not only was his appeal rejected, but his sentence was replaced with 3 months in prison instead of the fine, followed by immediate deportation.
Earlier this year, a 21-year-old student was allowed to return to the US after five months of legal battles. She was facing one year in prison in Dubai after a similar airport altercation, during which she said she “gently touched” the arm of one of the officers, but was accused of physical assault for it. She was subsequently subjected to “degrading, painful and humiliating” treatment, going through offensive searches that left her “half naked”, according to Detained in Dubai, an advocacy organization that supports foreign nationals who have been detained and prosecuted in the United Arab Emirates.