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Briton sentenced to prison for touching man’s hip in Dubai warns UK tourists his ordeal ‘could happen to anyone’

- 1509295214 jamie harron - Briton sentenced to prison for touching man’s hip in Dubai warns UK tourists his ordeal ‘could happen to anyone’


A Briton who was sentenced to prison for touching a man’s hip in Dubai has warned his ordeal could “happen to anyone”. 

Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, urged people to be wary about visiting the emirate and described its legal system as a “shambles”. 

The electrician was arrested in July and sentenced to jail this month for “public indecency” after a Jordanian businessman complained to police that he had been sexually assaulted.

But the Scot was freed after Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered he should be exonerated. 

In his first full interview since returning to the UK, Mr Harron told of sharing a jail cell with alleged murderers and his incredulity at learning he was being accused of sexual assault.

He said he briefly touched his accuser, the head of an engineering firm, to steady himself and avoid spilling a drink as he brushed past him in a crowded bar.

The contact reportedly “escalated” into an allegation that he had thrust his hands into the businessman’s underwear. 

Jamie Harron returns to UK after four months imprisoned in Dubai: “I’m in total shock”

“The whole thing was a nightmare from start to finish,” he told Mail Online.

“This has ruined four months of my life – I lost all my savings, £60,000, and my job, and my reputation has been damaged.”

He added: “People should be very wary. The legal system in Dubai is a shambles and if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”

Mr Harron had been on a two-day stopover in Dubai on a break from a lucrative job in Afghanistan when he was arrested following the incident in a bar and thrown into a cell at Al Barshi jail.

He said the cell was “about the size of my living room” and was shared by up to 10 men, including alleged killers.

“I didn’t shower for four days, and I was just stinking,” Mr Harron added. “I would get a bit of time each day to walk on the prison roof, but it was 50C and I would become drenched in sweat almost immediately. I had no toothbrush for five days either, and no way to keep clean.”

Several days passed before he learned he had been accused of penetrative sexual assault. He spent eight days behind bars before he was bailed and charged with indecent behaviour, as well as being drunk in public and an obscene gesture.

“I was in shock,” he told the website. “I said, ‘Of course I never did that. That man was fully clothed, and we were in a public bar.”

The allegation of sexual assault later vanished from the charge, but prosecutors continued to pursue the case. 

He was found guilty of indecency but cleared just a day later following an outcry and a campaign by the organisation Detained in Dubai.

Mr Harron suggested his accuser might have been jealous that he and a friend were talking to a young female barmaid.

He said he had no plans to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), adding: “The laws there are not great, and people can take advantage. It was my word against his, and it has led to this – it’s crazy.”

Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained In Dubai, said: ‘What happened to Jamie Harron could happen to any tourist. The UAE markets and promotes itself as one thing, but has not changed the laws to reflect its desire to become more modern.”

Independent

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Middle East

15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official

- e7523a3c68ddf4be6a508bd1ab873f3e L - 15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official


ERBIL — At least two civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded on Sunday as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin, northwest of Syria, a local official said.

Osama Sheikh Issa, co-chair of Afrin local administration told Kurdistan24 that what Turkey is trying to achieve is having revenge on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fighter’s victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

“All of the casualties of the Turkish attacks were civil people who had nothing to do with the war” he pointed out.

Issa also asserted that the residents of Afrin are confidently staying in their city, but the displaced Syrian people who had found refuge in Afrin are in danger because of the Turkish assault on the city.

He further ensured that “none of the YPG and YPJ units have been targeted by the Turkish strikes, in deed all the attacks have been aimed at the homes of civilians in Afrin”.

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Middle East

Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation

- 6cce60afe0e9652295227731138f696c L - Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation


ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran has called on Turkey to halt the Afrin operation and respect Syria’s territorial integrity, said a spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Mehr News Agency, Bahram Ghasemi said that Iran is closely and concernedly following the current developments in the city of Afrin.

“Iran hopes that the operation will immediately come to an end to stop the deepening of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria” he added. 

“The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may further strengthen the takfirist-terrorist groups in the northern Syrian regions, and flare up the fires of war ” warned the Iranian foreign ministry.

Qasemi also drew attention to the Astana peace talks and stated that all countries, especially Turkey, are expected to remain committed to the political solution, especially Astana peace process, for the Syrian crisis and continue observing their commitments and playing their constructive role in the resolution of the crisis.

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Middle East

[Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin

- a515aef23f394e0974fa089da5993b99 L - [Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a footage on Sunday which shows them destroying a Turkish tank near the border city of Afrin.

The YPG fighters appear in the video destroying a Turkish tank with an anti-tank missile.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northwest of Syria, dubbed as the “Olive Branch Operation”.

The assault has so far left dozens killed and injured, including civilians and fighters from the both sides.

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