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Australian man accused of swearing fined AED2,000

An Australian man who was arrested in October for swearing at a plain-clothed police officer in Dubai Airport was…


December 19, 2009 10:33 by

An Australian man who was arrested in October for swearing at a plain-clothed police officer in Dubai Airport was ordered to pay a AED2000 fine, reports The National. The Australian, a private security consultant who was traveling from Afghanistan to London via Dubai, faced a maximum term of six months in jail and a AED5,000 fine.

“[He] was in transit on his way to London when he tried to use an ATM machine at the airport,” his lawyer, Nasser Hashim of Al Kamali Advocates and Legal Consultants, told the court. “He was irate and tired and when the officer came to him he had no intent to offend him or insult him.”

The defendant, SM, claimed he swore when the officer grabbed him from behind. “We explained to the court that the words used were not to offend anyone.”

“The plaintiff just understood the words out of context and thought it was a direct insult to him,” Hashim said.

Radha Sterling, the founder of Detained in Dubai, an organization that helps expatriates facing legal action in Dubai, said: “After months of waiting to see whether he would go to jail for swearing in public, after having been grabbed and shouted at, [SM] can finally breathe a sigh of relief. While he would have preferred being found innocent of the charges, he is delighted that he will be able to return home to Australia, his friends and family.

“I am very happy with every verdict that does not result in a prison sentence,” she said. “However, I question whether justice has been done, when [SM] was detained in Dubai for several months, worrying about whether he would be sent to jail and wasting his life savings on local legal fees.”


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