“Cultural misunderstanding” behind imprisoned British teachers in Oman; Stirling calls for UK, Oman
Jennifer Green detained in Oman
Two British teachers are being held in a prison in Oman accused of stealing dogs. Jenny Green, and a female friend say they rescued the dogs from an abusive owner, but they have been charged with theft, and potentially alcohol related charges.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, has issued the following statement on the case:
“This is yet another stark reminder that there are vast cultural and legal disparities between the West and the Gulf States. Jenny Green and her friend were in Oman working for the British Council, specifically to help promote UK culture in the country. They allegedly intervened to save abused animals, which is something honourable in Britain, but is a crime in Oman. Abusing animals apparently is not a crime in Oman, and rescuing an animal can apparently lead to abuse by the legal system. I would encourage the Omani government to intervene in this case before the suffering of these young women is prolonged any further.
“The absence of due process and a genuine rule of law defines the legal culture in the Gulf; from the UAE to Qatar, from Saudi Arabia to Oman. As we see in this case, the original charges of “theft”, which were wrongful in the first place; appear to have been arbitrarily compounded with charges related to alcohol by judicial caprice; reportedly because the judge in the case “thought the women may have been intoxicated”.
“Conditions in Omani prison are well known to be dismal, with little or no access to medical care, overcrowding, the mixing of violent convicts with people still on trial for nonviolent offences, harsh and abusive treatment by guards, and extreme restrictions on access to communication. It is outrageous that Jenny Green and her friend are enduring this blatant mistreatment, and the UK government needs to step in to secure their release.
“There is an abject failure throughout the Gulf States in police and prosecutorial investigations, so I have no doubt that the animal abuse which prompted the young women to rescue the dogs, has neither been investigated nor prosecuted. The women allegedly took actions which are praiseworthy in Great Britain, they no doubt assumed it would be appreciated in Oman as well. This case comes down to a cultural misunderstanding, and these two young women do not deserve to be locked up in prison over it.”