British man sentenced for ‘touching man’s hip’ finally back home
A Scottish man who was jailed in Dubai for touching another man’s hip has returned home after a long ordeal.
Jamie Harron, a 27-year-old electrician from Stirling, Scotland, was sentenced to months in prison for public indecency after he touched another man in a bar, apparently to avoid spilling a drink.
The alleged incident took place at the Rock Bottom Bar on July 15.
Mr Harron has been subjected a long ordeal as he sought to regain his freedom.
He was sentenced to three months behind bars after spending thousands of pounds on legal costs and expenses.
Today he was finally freed, after the charges against him were mysteriously dropped in the face of negative media coverage.
Action group Detained in Dubai, said that the charges were dropped under orders from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates prime minister and ruler of Dubai.
Arriving at Glasgow Airport he told the BBC: “The whole thing is a shambles. There was no organisation or anything.
“I think I’ve just been caught up in a bad situation. The man had a power trip.
“I still can’t believe it actually happened but I kept positive all the way through.”
He praised the organisation Detained in Dubai which campaigned to get him freed.
“They’ve done very well. They’ve helped me a lot,” he said.
Spokeswoman Radha Stirling said: “The charges were dropped, the sentence annulled, and he faces no order for deportation. This came by direct order from Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid al-Maktoum].
“We wish to express our deepest gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed for his personal intervention in this case, and for exonerating Jamie at long last.
“It has now been established that the allegations against Jamie were entirely unwarranted, defamatory, and meritless.”
Mr Harron is understood to now be considering a civil action against the businessman who made the complaint and his employers.
Harron had also faced charges for drinking alcohol and “making a rude gesture”.
Pressure group Detained In Dubai championed the detained man’s cause.
It describes itself as “a not for profit organisation formed to assist people who have become victims of injustice in the United Arab Emirates”.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: “Regarding the alcohol charges, of course he was drinking, everyone was. The entire enforcement system in the UAE needs an overhaul.
“The case has prompted 80 messages an hour of support and has even prompted calls for a boycott of the UAE over its treatment of expats and tourists.”
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Harron’s parents Graham and Patricia recently spoke out about their worry for their son.
“We can’t believe that this nightmare has gone on for three months,” said his father Graham.
“Jamie is a good boy. He has never been a problem and never in trouble. We are a very close family and it is killing us to think of him spending even 3 nights in jail, let alone 3 years.”
Gay sex is illegal for men and women in the United Arab Emirates under section 354 of the federation’s legal code.
Punishment can include deportation, chemical castrations, fines and prison time. While the legal code mentions the death penalty, it has not been implemented for same-sex relations in the country.
Related topics: dubai