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Radha Stirling comments on on Love Island kaz arrest

image: Daily Express

The case of Kaz Crossley; arrested in Abu Dhabi enroute to Thailand yesterday 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. It appears that Ms. Crossley has been detained based solely on a video posted on social media that was subsequently published in the press allegedly showing her inhaling an unidentified white substance over two years ago. It is not known, nor provable, what that substance was, nor even whether or not the video was actually filmed in Dubai; yet the mere suggestion that illegal drug use in the UAE took place in 2020 is sufficient for the Emirati police and prosecutors to apprehend Ms. Crossley, and very likely to convict her. This is the sort of evidentiary and investigative hubris that has seen multiple foreign nationals imprisoned in the UAE, based exclusively on accusations by dubious informants or police bias. British citizen Andy Neal, for instance, was falsely imprisoned for over a year on drug charges in the Emirates in 2018 without a shred of evidence. We have seen several other cases in which foreigners have been jailed for entering the UAE after consuming drugs legally in their home countries, after informants alerted police to screen them upon arrival for the presence of narcotics in their systems. While Dubai has decreased minimum sentencing for drug possession cases, the punishment is still up to the court’s discretion. Ms Crossley could be facing a significant prison term as well as a substantial fine, despite possessing no drugs, having no drugs in her bloodstream, and with no evidence of having committed a crime except media speculation and gossip. While in police custody, Ms Crossley is at risk of suffering harsh coercion and intimidation by the police, who typically force suspects to sign false confessions in Arabic under threat of greater punishment for non-compliance. Conditions in police station holding cells are horrendous, with individuals charged with non-violent offences housed side-by-side with hardened criminals and violent offenders. British national Lee Bradley Brown was killed in custody in 2011. If she is convicted, Ms Crossley will serve her sentence in Dubai Central Jail, which is notorious for abuse, torture, and severe over-crowding. Access to legal representation, communication, medicine, visits, and consular support are all seriously restricted – particularly for those charged with drug offences. Without intervention by the British government, Ms Crossley’s right to due process will be non-existent; with court proceedings held entirely in Arabic, with little or no opportunity to defend herself against the charges; and her conviction is a foregone conclusion. There is, of course, also the danger that Ms Crossley could even face additional charges under Dubai’s Cybercrime laws if authorities conclude that she posted video online of herself committing a crime; which could result in an even heavier sentence than the drug charges.


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