Passenger partly at fault

The Herald reports:

A mother who claims she was jailed in Dubai for drinking a glass of wine on a flight from London has told for the first time the full story of her harrowing ordeal.

But was it for that?

At Dubai International airport, she handed over her Iranian passport at the immigration desk. The officer’s computer told him that her visa had already been used two months earlier, which Ellie acknowledges was her mistake.

So she had an incorrect visa.

He advised Ellie to get a transit visa, which would allow her to stay in the country for the duration of her five-day trip.

But then a different immigration officer took one look at her Iranian passport and told her: “You get a ticket and go on a flight home.”

And was told she could not fly.

Ellie said: “I did not swear and told him I was told I could get a transit visa. He just refused to listen and he was so close I could feel his spit on my face. He was jabbing a finger in my face and was rude and aggressive.

“He looked at me as if I was like the dirt under his shoes, and I think it was because I was from Iran. If it had been a European woman he might not have reacted in the same way.”

Ellie said she became afraid so she used her mobile phone to film the immigration officer. This inflamed the situation further.

This was incredibly stupid. You’re in bloody Dubai. Maybe this may be a good idea (but probably not) at Los Angeles Airport, but to start filming security officers in an authoritarian state’s airport is incredibly dumb.

“People in Britain film police all the time. I was doing it for my own protection.”

You were not in the UK.

None of this justified what the security guards did – arresting her and her four year old daughter. Of course they should not have. But Dubai is an authoritarian state with awful human rights abuses.

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