Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Fake banknote man flies home for family reunion 'and some good food'

Monique Fleming and William Barclay Image copyright Barclay family
Image caption William Barclay was facing up to a year in jail after being held while on holiday with his wife and children

An Edinburgh man who was held in a jail in Dubai for three days over a forged banknote has flown home for a family reunion.

William Barclay had been accused of trying to exchange a fake £20 note during a family holiday.

Although the incident happened last September and was resolved, he was arrested again over the matter during another holiday to the area last month.

He arrived in Glasgow at 20:00 to be met by his partner Monique.

Mr Barclay then travelled to his home in Edinburgh to see his children "and have some good food".

He said: "It's a massive relief. I'm stuck over there running out of money, just worrying about looking at potentially a year in prison for a being a victim of something that should never have happened.

'Horrendous treatment'

"My main focus now is just to get back to my two kids and my partner Monique, who's fought hard to get me home, along with all my family.

"The worst part was obviously prison, being locked up and away from your family.

"I couldn't go back to that country, not after the way they've treated me. After the second time, what they've done to me is horrendous."

The charity Detained in Dubai, who fought for Mr Barclay's release, escorted to his Emirates flight late on Wednesday.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Barclay was stopped at Dubai International Airport in September last year

Mr Barclay was quizzed by detectives for 12 hours after trying to exchange money at the Al Hamra Mall in Ras Al Khaimah in 2016.

He was accused of being in possession of counterfeit cash but was then told no charges would be brought and was allowed to continue his family holiday.

On returning to Dubai on 15 September this year, with his wife and two children, Mr Barclay was stopped at the airport and detained again.

Radha Stirling, of Detained in Dubai, who represented Mr Barclay, said that without international support and publicity, he could have been held for many months, if not years, which has been the case with other British nationals.

Mr Barclay said: "I was just glad to get out, see my family - that was the most important thing.

"I didn't know if my family was safe, I didn't know if they made (it to) the hotel. Nobody would let me call them.

"You're in a prison there for three or four days, you don't know if you're going to get out."

Case dropped

On Wednesday, it was confirmed the case against him had been dropped and he would be able to return home.

The father-of-two maintains his innocence and says he has no idea how he came into possession of the counterfeit cash.

He also criticised how the UK embassy handled the situation, claiming he had no help.

Mr Barclay said: "I don't know what a fake note looks like, that's the truth.

"The (UK) embassy did nothing for me. The government over there only started helping me last night because of Radha Stirling's work.

"If it wasn't for the press, I wouldn't be back today."

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