Tourist Arrested in Dubai for Touching Man’s Hip in Bar

A British citizen was arrested in Dubai for inadvertently touching another man’s hip in a bar.  He’s facing three years in jail.

From the Guardian:

The 27-year-old electrician is said to have been holding a drink, moving through a crowded bar, and held a hand in front of him to avoid spilling it on himself or others. He then “touched a man on his hip to avoid impact”.

The organisation claims it was only after Harron and his friend sat at a table that the man who had been touched seemed upset.

Police arrived at the Rock Bottom bar 20 to 30 minutes later and arrested Harron, according to his representatives. He was later charged with drinking alcohol and public indecency.

Read the whole article for details, plus more information on what the organization, Detained in Dubai, does to help in these situations.

Bar Blur
© Littleny | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This story is a frighting reminder for us (and a frighting reality for the tourist) that we are not exempt from the law in countries with human rights violations and draconian social laws.

Whenever I mention I don’t travel to Dubai, the first thing I hear from friends is, “oh, those laws don’t apply to tourists.”

The problem is, while they aren’t enforced as often for tourists, they still do apply to tourists.

I outline my thoughts on this in,  Why I’m Frightened to Travel to Some Places.

Since writing that, the stories have continued.  The one that made me the most sick to my stomach was, “British Woman Jailed After Being Gang-Raped in Dubai for Admitting to ‘Extra-Marital Sex’.”  As I said in that article, I know there is a chance that terrible things could happen to me when traveling.  But I don’t want to be in a situation where a government would punish me for the terrible thing that happened to me.

Detained in Dubai assists tourists in these situations and brings attention to these situations in the media.

You can keep up to date on their work by following their Twitter feed.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. A person drinking alcohol in a bar? What madness. Next, people will be reading in libraries. Sarcasm aside, I make it a point to avoid countries that behave this way for the same reasons as yourself. Thanks for raising awareness.

  2. For a second I thought I was reading Gary’s blog. Wait….this is the reason I don’t read Gary’s blog anymore

  3. Stupid article.. you don’t know the whole story… the guy was drunk so he may have done something wrong without himself remembering it

  4. On my last deployment while I was in the Navy we stopped for a few days in Dubai, it was in 2004. In Dubai & Bahrain, dress code for males & females were pants & long sleeved collared buttoned shirts ( I think only the top button could be unbuttoned) , we had to go out in a group ( I think it was a minimum of 3 or 4 people) and bars/clubs were off limits. At the time I thought the rules were a bit over the top ,especially while at the mall we saw European women walking around in shorts & tank tops. But after reading your article and checking out the links, I definitely think those rules were needed or half the ship might have been in jail.

  5. We do the same thing in the States, yet very few people are moving out because of our human rights violations. Arpaio in Arizona. Not using your left turn signal puts you in jail for 13 days…

  6. Just a reminder to avoid places like this. In many countries you are guilty until proven innocent. Some people don’t realize that a “modern” country with high rises and architectural splendor may have archaic laws.

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