Asa Hutchinson, the young British woman possibly facing years in prison in Dubai for “witnessing someone else’s crime”, was discussed on BBC Radio this morning. Asa’s father, Ian Hutchinson revealed more information to the BBC in an attempt to raise concern and seek a resolution to his daughter’s nightmare.
In his first broadcast interview on the matter, Iain Hutchinson said he has met with FCO officials and that they are going to offer Asa the help she so urgently needs.
Asa remains in Dubai, where she has been since 2016 when she witnessed a scuffle in a hotel lobby, shortly thereafter being wrongfully charged along with the actual assailants..
Asa, originally from Chelmsford in Essex, was leaving Dusty's in the DIFC district of Dubai when she saw the events taking place.
Outside Dusty’s, Asa says that some of the people she was with, spotted a drunken man who had passed out on a sofa and began taking selfies with him; Asa, however, kept walking. The man, identified as IBM executive and Swedish national Bjorn Roden, awoke suddenly and attacked the young men around him, says Asa, “he woke up and began punching the boys. I heard the commotion and came back to see what was going on."
The police caught up with a number of the party who had been involved in the violence and they were taken to Bur Dubai Police Station. Asa went to the station as well, intending to help explain what had taken place, but found herself being charged along with the others.
It didn't matter that the he had been the person throwing punches, nor that he was inebriated, Bjorn Roden accused all of them, including Asa, with assault and theft (apparently he lost his sunglasses in the scuffle), and police took him at his word. The young men who had actually been involved in the incident have since flown back to the UK as they were able to retrieve their passports, so the entire case is now left to her, regardless of the fact that she was merely a witness.
Asa is trying to go about her daily life, but the cloud of what could happen to her in the near future, looms ominously over her.
Iain Hutchinson, told BBC Radio in Essex that he is doing everything within his power to get his daughter safely out of Dubai. He and Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai appeared together to discuss Asa’s situation.
Mr Hutchinson repeated his family’s pleas to the Swede to drop the charges against Asa. He told the BBC he understands that Mr Roden is very upset by the whole situation. However, he continued that it is not right that a mature man take all his rage and anger out on a 21 year old woman who had never harmed him herself.
In the broadcast, Radha Stirling said she hoped the UK Embassy and UAE authorities would stop up efforts to intervene in this unjust case. She also stated that tourists and visitors to the UAE can do little to protect themselves against these types of arrests. “Even if you know the law and read the FCO travel warnings, that does not protect you from false allegations and becoming a victim of an unjust and unpredictable justice system”.