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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

​Radha Stirling lodges criminal complaint against Dubai newspaper reporter for criminal slander

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai who has lodged a criminal police complaint against a Gulf News journalist and local attorney for criminal defamation against her in Derrin Crawford case under federal cybercrime laws.

“The UAE’s own federal cybercrime laws are apparently something that only expats and tourists should fear”, says Radha Stirling, CEO and founder of Detained in Dubai who has lodged a criminal police complaint against a Gulf News journalist and local attorney for criminal defamation against her under federal cybercrime laws.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai

“It will be interesting to see how the police respond to a valid complaint under the Cybercrime laws filed by one of the country’s major critics,” Stirling said.

The Gulf News published an ​article recently rife with false claims and accusations about Detained in Dubai regarding the organisation’s representation of Derrin Crawford, the 23 year old British flight attendant currently being held during the investigation of drugs allegations against an acquaintance in Dubai.

The article quoted local lawyer Bader Ahmed, suggesting that Stirling had no connection with the Crawford case, and that she was merely using it as a way to solicit donations. “Derrin gave Mr. Ahmed Power of Attorney under the misapprehension that he was arranged by her family, or by us,” Stirling clarified. “We discovered that he was, in fact, sent by a man unknown to us, and unknown to the family, on the promise of a $50,000 payment made over the phone, which never materialised; this individual has since vanished. Once the family realised that Mr. Ahmed was not affiliated with us, he was terminated as Derrin’s attorney. We are in regular communication with Derrin’s family, and our information about her situation is provided to us directly by them.

“It seems that Bader Ahmed allowed himself to be duped by an unknown caller who referred to himself as “Anthony”, and when it became clear that no payment would be remitted, and that this person had no authority to act on behalf of Derrin or her family, he lashed out at Detained in Dubai; though we also have no knowledge of who this person is. In his interview, Mr. Ahmed denied Derrin’s documented health condition and her family’s concerns; stating that our advocacy in Derrin's case is part of some sort of Dubai-hating agenda. This illustrates precisely the kind of systemic bias expats face when entangled in the UAE legal system, whereby even the lawyers whose job it is to defend them tend to be more committed to proving that the system can do no wrong.”

Stirling notes that the Gulf News is part owned by the Al Rostamani family, who are currently facing a £1 billion lawsuit by one of Detained in Dubai’s many clients. “It is entirely inappropriate and negligent for Gulf News to publish such slanderous accusations without even seeking comment, and without evidence,” Stirling said, “It is equally illegal that Mr Bader made such unsubstantiated allegations in utter contempt of the UAE’s Cybercrime laws. We have been in contact with him, and presented him with written evidence by Detained in Dubai and the Crawford family, but he has refused to retract or publicly correct his comments and would rather stick by his public slanders”.

Criminal complaints have been made against the lawyer and the reporter and an investigation has been opened by Detained in Dubai in England to discover the identity of the mystery man “Anthony”.

“In our 12 years of operation and our representation of thousands of victims of injustice, we have seen foreigners arrested for the most ridiculous alleged violations of the UAE’s Cybercrime laws”, Stirling explained, “Including a facebook comment regarding a British school (“I wouldn’t send my Labrador there”), a negative tweet regarding the customer service centre of a rental car agency, Scott Richards raising funds for a children’s charity via facebook and the world famous case of Laleh Shahravesh for referring to someone as a “horse face”. Our representation of Derrin Crawford has now been publicly maligned by a lawyer ostensibly hired to defend her; if there was ever an appropriate basis for enforcing the Cybercrime laws, it is this case. Not only do these comments by Bader Ahmed and the entire article in the Gulf News constitute libel against Detained in Dubai and myself, they undermine the defence of our client Derrin Crawford’s innocence. We see our criminal complaint as a test case for Dubai; will they abide by their own laws against defamation when it comes to critics of the system, or only enforce the rules on Cybercrime to curtail free speech and penalise constructive criticism?”

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