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  • Detained in Dubai

We need to smarten up and stop letting Dubai make fools of us


The media has published numerous cases of how the UAE has been abusing its authority and judicial system against foreigners for years. We even have a number of documentaries and information available online showing the countless professional foreigners who have been jailed or mistreated because it has been to the advantage of a local, so why on earth are we as a group, going back for more? Is it hope? Greed? Or is it perhaps the "it won't happen to me" mentality? Perhaps we are lured by the welcoming hospitality of the people of the Gulf. We dine with them, go on holidays with them and we feel (and are even told) that we are "family".

There is no doubt about it... The UAE has a big marketing budget and provide what seem to be wonderful opportunities for expats and it can seem like an adventure.

We also generally have a perception that the people in the Gulf are obscenely rich and can help propel us to their millionaire status. Sometimes this is true and great when it is. The problem is that it is absolutely random as to whether one will end up better off, or in jail.

It is clear that the Emiratis have a very obvious ability to manipulate the legal system to their advantage. It is almost encouraged and can easily raise someone's status within their social circles when they can exert influence over the system, and the nature of this social norm is flowing down from the top of their government.

In the case of Haddad, a Londoner, he was pressured to accept an unreasonably low offer to buy his share in a business; he refused. Emiratis don't like to hear a "no" from someone lower in the pecking order and so will find it gratifying to "outsmart" us.

In this case, the prominent family of Al Rastamani decided to do exactly that. Haddad's disgruntled business partner outright stole the company in retaliation, using every royal connection at her disposal. She arranged for him to be locked out of his office building even though he was the legal chairman and joint partner. She threatened via SMS that she would "put him in jail (for nothing)" and he was forced to flee. Then to administer the theft of the company, she employed a prominent lawyer, Habib Al Mulla (who is also