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Arrested for drugs in Dubai: Kaz Crossley highlights UAE drug laws

Detained in Dubai has represented dozens of foreigners who have been charged with drugs related crimes

The recent arrest of Kaz Crossley has Dubai's drug laws and enforcement issues under the spotlight again.

Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling has navigated the UAE's drug laws for 15 years. Stirling said "the case of Kaz Crossley; arrested in Abu Dhabi en route to Thailand over allegations of possessing and consuming drugs in 2020 while reportedly in Dubai during the pandemic; highlights not only the Emirates’ zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics, but more so the expansive license granted to law enforcement in the UAE to arrest and prosecute individuals without substantial evidence."

Detained in Dubai was founded following the arrest of Cat Le-Huy who was carrying jet lag remedy melatonin with him to Dubai. He was then accused of having “specs of marijuana dust” at the bottom of his bag, later proven to be untrue. Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai has since represented dozens of foreigners who have been charged with similar drugs related crimes. People like Peter Clark who was earlier this year arrested for having trace elements of THC in his bloodstream from hashish consumed legally in Las Vegas before he travelled.

Detained in Dubai’s endless campaigning for victims of Dubai’s antiquated drug laws resulted in positive legislative change in the UAE but the revised laws do not appear to have solved the underlying issues.

“The changes in law have come after years of public outrage caused by the large number of wrongful arrests and prosecutions. We are pleased to see the UAE responding to calls for legislative change but the procedural issues will continue to cause unfair detentions”, said Stirling in a statement.

Cat Le-Huy

Stirling’s first case involving her friend, Cat Le-Huy, was pulled aside on arrival in Dubai for a random search that revealed he was carrying a legal health supplement known as “melatonin”. Melatonin is a supplement that assists with jet lag symptoms & is available legally over the counter in the United Arab Emirates. Regardless, Mr Le-Huy was subjected to a full strip search, urine tests & was, under duress, forced to sign a confession in Arabic, a language he does not understand and to agree with the Dubai authorities not to obtain legal representation. Le-Huy was held for seven weeks before legal and lobbying intervention expedited his release.

Andy Neal

Family man and veteran Andy Neal was rounded up by police because he was in someone’s phone contact list in their phone, a neighbour he barely knew. British veteran Andrew Neal has been acquitted by an Abu Dhabi court of baseless drug charges after over a year in prison. Neal was arrested in October last year as part of a large-scale police operation against a suspected drug syndicate, despite there being no evidence to substantiate his involvement. Police searched Neal, his car, and his apartment and found no trace of drugs, neither in his possession nor in his bloodstream. He was eventually exonerated after a year in Abu Dhabi’s notorious prison.

Derrin Crawford

Derrin Crawford, British air hostess, 23, was arrested in Dubai and held in notorious jail after police raid apartment of 'British' man she had just gone on first date with and find two cannabis joints. After public outrage, Derrin was released.

Perry Coppins

Veteran Perry Coppins was held in the same prison as Billy Hood after he was found with prescription medication for his PTSD. Coppins was held in jail for five weeks, released after Detained in Dubai’s intervention.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown was sentenced to four years in jail after Dubai customs officers found a tiny speck of cannabis, weighing just 0.003g, stuck to his shoe. He was reportedly freed a few weeks later.

Peter Clark:

Peter Clark was arrested after a blood test revealed trace elements of hashish in his system, but it was smoked outside of the UAE in Las Vegas, where the substance is legal. After Detained in Dubai lobbied the US to intervene, he was released.

Conor Clements:

Conor Clements a young British man was arrested in the UAE for traces of medical marijuana that were left in his system after legally taking it in the UK.


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