Brit is jailed for three months in Dubai after appealing £2,000 fine he received for insulting airport staff who didn’t fetch his mother a wheelchair – and court rules it was too lenient
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A British tourist’s plan to appeal a hefty fine for abusing airline staff in Dubai failed after he was hit with a much tougher three-month prison sentence and deportation.
The traveler was fined £2,000 earlier this year for using ‘very strong language’ towards an employee. The traveler then went to court to appeal the sentence, but was sentenced to prison on November 6.
The Dubai Court of Appeal heard how he insulted a member of airline staff last February after being told they could not immediately get him a wheelchair to take his mother to a shuttle bus.
In her testimony, the victim told judges she was sworn in after explaining the airport’s policies to the man. “I told the traveler that the use of such offensive language is not allowed at Dubai airport, but he replied that he did not care,” she said.
Police were later informed and the passenger was fined Dh10,000 (approximately £2,156.22) at the Dubai Courts.
Airplanes prepare to take off at Dubai Airport on February 20, 2016. Dubai DXB is the main international airport in the UAE and is the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic
During her testimony, the employee said she was working in the transit area of Terminal 2 at Dubai Airport when the passenger approached with questions about their flight.
She told them to go to Terminal 3 and that a shuttle bus was available to take them.
At that point, she said, the passenger requested a wheelchair to help move his mother to the bus.
She pointed out that a seat would be made available for them before boarding the bus, after which the passenger left.
They later came back and said another passenger near the bus had a wheelchair.
But when the employee tried to clarify the airline’s policy on wheelchair services, he snapped.
“When I tried to explain it to him, he insulted me with very strong language,” she said.
When asked not to swear, the British tourist replied that he didn’t care and the employee called the police.
A case was later filed against the traveler, who was fined by the Dubai Criminal Court.
Dubai enforces strict penalties for a number of crimes that have lurked tourists over the years.
Swearing in public is illegal. The UK government warns: ‘Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported.
“Exercise extreme caution when dealing with police and other officials.”
While tourists are allowed to drink at home and at drinking establishments, Britons cannot expect to drink in public and face strict rules and regulations around buying, transporting and consuming liquor in Dubai.
Dubai International Airport in 2021. A passenger faces jail after ‘verbally abusing’ a staff member at the airport in February this year
Penalties for transporting drugs into the country are among the harshest, the Foreign Ministry warns: ‘Penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual quantities) are severe.
“Drug trafficking convictions may include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs may result in a minimum of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of not less than AED 20,000 and not more than AED 100,000.”