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  • Detained in Dubai

Flaw in Dubai legal system leaving British visitors vulnerable.

- Asa Hutchinson case only the tip of the iceberg

Asa Hutchinson. British woman currently fighting for her freedom in the United Arab Emirates

British national Asa Hutchinson is not alone in being charged with a crime for being in the vicinity of the alleged incident. In the confusion of a crime report, it is common for victims to accuse all members of a party and in many cases, even witnesses are dragged through the judicial system.

This flaw is so well known in the United Arab Emirates that witnesses who are familiar with the country’s unusual legal processes, despite not having been involved themselves, will likely flee the scene, rather than risk being jailed unfairly.

Since the publication of Asa’s case in the worldwide media, another British woman has contacted Detained In Dubai with almost a replica of Asa’s case, having been arrested for assault and theft, despite being only a witness. Fortunately, authorities in this case have advised her that they intend to return her passport and refrain from prosecution. Asa though, still faces prosecution. Her Swedish accuser has refused to drop the charges against her and his lawyer has not responded to several attempts to remedy the situation out of court. If convicted, she faces months or years in prison, fines and deportation.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who is representing Miss Hutchinson said, “Over the past decade, we have resolved thousands of cases of wrongful accusations and detentions. The UAE government has indicated that they support judicial improvements but, unlike building flashy hotels, it is extremely difficult to improve a judicial and penal system overnight.

“The chaotic judiciary can be beneficial to people who know how to manipulate it and thus, creates a disincentive to change. UAE law allows disgruntled parties avenues to personal vindication and in many cases, their motive may be financially oriented. We have seen complainants abuse the process to steal large amounts of money, companies or assets.