Miami accountant, Danielle Jeffries, 58, had hoped she’d be home this Christmas to see her 93 year old mother who had just survived coronavirus, but she remains stuck in the United Arab Emirates. Danielle is the latest American to face the Dubai justice system where she’s been sentenced to jail, a hefty fine and deportation for petty crimes she didn’t commit.
But with the newly agreed Israel - UAE peace deals, Danielle hopes the US government will finally intervene in her case.
“The UAE is one of the USA's strongest allies in the Middle East and even more so, with the new Abraham Accord”, said Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai who is representing Ms Jeffries, “The US has previously assisted Americans who faced some unbelievable situations in Dubai, managing to have them returned home. With the new peace deals, relations between the countries are stronger than ever, and Danielle hopes this may lead to a diplomatic resolution to what has been a real life nightmare.
“The unanswered question is whether the peace deals will improve human rights in the region or encourage nations to turn a blind eye to violations”.
“Danielle Jeffries, from the University of Pennsylvania, had no idea that working in Dubai could end up with her detention over something so petty, that she didn’t even do. Danielle had intended to start her own accountancy firm and hired a legally required, professional administrator to set it up. He didn’t do the paperwork correctly which, astonishingly, is a criminal offence in Dubai, and Danielle was held responsible for his actions even though she had nothing to do with them.
“It’s a ridiculous situation. It’s an egregious violation against a US citizen that will see her locked up if this is not diplomatically resolved. Danielle’s situation has been raised with the Emirati ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Oitaiba, who declined to get involved. He told her to simply pay the fine, a fine she can’t afford for a crime she didn’t commit. He didn’t even mention the prison sentence. Is this really how the UAE is going to treat innocent foreign citizens of their allies? Is this how they will treat their new friends, the Israelis?”
Without evidence of wrongdoing, Danielle Jeffries has been sentenced to a fine of AED 150,000 (apx. US $40,000), three months imprisonment and deportation. She cannot pay the $40,000 fine and will therefore be stuck in Dubai indefinitely, without a work permit or ability to earn money. She will never be able to leave.
Danielle's friends have set up a fundraiser to help raise money for the fine. Fundraising is illegal in Dubai, so overseas friends and family have to make sure their loved one is not involved.
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Detained in Dubai is an organisation founded in 2008 by Radha Stirling, a leading human rights advocate, crisis manager and policy consultant, focusing on the UAE and the wider Middle East.
Stirling is a Criminal & Civil Justice Specialist, Expert Witness, Speaker, Founder of Due Process International, Detained in Dubai, IPEX Reform, Gulf Investment Monitor and the Gulf in Justice Podcast.
Veteran Middle East justice expert Radha Stirling launched her podcast Gulf in Justice in August 2020. Stirling has helped more than fifteen thousand clients over her thirteen years with organisation Detained in Dubai, which she founded in 2008. Gulf in Justice discusses up to date topical issues, interviewing a variety of guests and promoting change in the region.
Detained in Dubai is an organisation that campaigns against judicial abuse in the UAE and Gulf region on behalf of expats and tourists, its founder and CEO, Radha Stirling, is the leading international commentator on the justice systems in the Gulf, a pioneer advocate for reform of Interpol, and a sought after analyst for Western policy makers. The crisis management group has a team and network of highly experienced advocates, consultants, and negotiators to assist you or your company with legal matters, whether you are in the UAE or abroad. Their top priority is helping clients secure the best possible outcome to complex UAE legal issues, regardless of how the odds are stacked against them.