Tayside and Central Scotland

Dubai Scot jailed for three months for public indecency

Jamie Harron Image copyright Detained in Dubai/Getty
Image caption Jamie Harron was convicted of public indecency over the incident in a Dubai bar

A Scottish man has been sentenced to three months in jail for touching a man's hip in a Dubai bar.

Jamie Harron, from Stirling, was arrested in July and charged with public indecency.

He claimed he had simply been trying to avoid spilling his drink when he touched the man.

The 27-year-old electrician had already been sentenced to a month in jail for drinking beer and still faces further court proceedings.

The businessman who made the complaint against Mr Harron later withdrew it, but prosecutors in Dubai continued with the case.

News of the three-month sentence was released by campaign group Detained in Dubai, which has been supporting Mr Harron.

Image copyright Detained in Dubai
Image caption Mr Harron was on a stopover break in the United Arab Emirates when the incident happened

The group said lawyers acting for him would appeal and they would be pursuing a civil action against his accusers.

A statement from the group said: "Today Jamie Harron was sentenced to three months imprisonment for accidentally brushing the hip of an Arab customer at the Rock Bottom bar in Dubai.

"Key witnesses to the incident were not called upon to testify to discredit the allegations.

"Jamie will appeal the verdict, though this will prolong his increasingly difficult circumstances in Dubai, and compound the enormous financial losses he has suffered as a consequence of the ongoing case."

Detained in Dubai's chief executive Radha Stirling said Mr Harron was "understandably distraught".

She added: "Now Jamie has been sentenced to three months, there is no telling whether a judgment on appeal will be better or worse.

"He has already suffered tremendously as a result of these allegations, and now faces the likelihood of incarceration.

Government criticism

"His family was unable to visit him during this critical time because they faced a very real risk of imprisonment themselves under the UAE's cybercrime laws which forbid criticism of the government.

"At this point, Jamie will definitely be pursuing civil action against his accusers when he does eventually return home, as it appears that he will not be able to find justice in the UAE.

"He is angry, disappointed, and dreads what may happen next. He feels betrayed and exploited by the system, which did not investigate the reports of key witnesses in his defence and led him to believe that the case would be dropped."

Mr Harron, who worked as an electrician in Afghanistan, was on a two-day stopover in the United Arab Emirates at the time of the incident on 15 July.

He is still to face court on two other charges stemming from the case - one of consuming alcohol, and one for allegedly making a rude gesture.

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