American citizen facing 7 years in Dubai jail for using the word “bitch” on Instagram.
Updated: Jul 17, 2022
An American entrepreneur and former inspirational speaker who was trying to make a future for himself and his family in Dubai has fallen foul of the Middle Eastern state’s harsh and ill-defined Cybercrime Laws.
Fitness professional Jordan Branford, 44, from Eugene, Oregon in the USA used the word 'bitch' on Instagram. In the socially conservative state of Dubai, 'bitch' can be interpreted as an offensive word, even when not directed at a specific person; and in the UAE is subject to criminal sanctions.
A complaint was brought against him by his estranged wife, despite the fact nobody was named in Jordan’s post, and the American father found himself in court, convicted and sentenced to a fine of AED 250,000 (US$ 68,000) followed by deportation.
Jordan’s finances are now completely depleted after paying for legal defence, and he has lost his business along the way. As he is unable to pay the fine, the alternative under UAE law is for him to serve out a sentence in the country’s notoriously violent prison system, with each day served equivalent to AED 100 (about $27). Meaning that the total amount of days will be 2500, or just under 7 years. When Jordan does eventually get home, he will be in his early fifties, penniless, and will have to start his life all over again from nothing.
The problems started for Jordan when his marriage broke down in early 2016. “I was working a lot of hours trying to build up my fitness business “American Fitness,” Jordan tells us. “My own father was not around when I was young, and my mother and I were left to fend for ourselves. I really wanted to make a comfortable future for my beautiful son, Jadan. My friends and people I knew were coming to me everyday with reports of my wife behaving in ways that no spouse would accept. I didn’t want to beli