Avoid the UAE…you’ll get a life sentence!

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  • capetonianm

    …………. this thread is full of total & utter drivel & fake “news”. I have never visited a country with a more balanced, harmonious population than the UAE, full of many many content residents, striving for growth & success. There are many other countries that could learn a thing own two form the Emiratis.

    I am sure that in reaching this conclusion, you have spoken to many ‘residents’ at all levels of society, including the slaves and other exploited beings from the third world, and not just the wealthy expats living the glittering lifestyle which sits on top of, and hides, the filth and squalor and corruption.
    As for Matthew Hedges, maybe he doesn’t even exist, it’s just a nasty story made up my the media on a ‘slow news’ day.

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    Let’s hope that the Foreign Secretary has the guts to ban all UAE airline arrivals and overflights involving the U.K. BA would welcome the retaliatory action of having their loss-making services banned from the UAE.

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    Over the years we’ve never had any issues or troubles with trips to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Saudi Arabia. I may not appreciate the different laws compared to the UK, but once you know what they are, it’s still very possible to have good trips free from troubles. I often feel much safer than I would do in parts of Europe or the USA.

    Noting how some non local residents behave, or trying to circumvent or break local laws leading to troubles, its surprising there are not more ‘cases’ which cause headlines out of the area. If I were unable to keep to local laws in any country I was planning to visit, I would not go as it’s a choice I can make. As is the choice of an airline when changing enroute in these countries to a final destination.

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    The “Fake news” reader should perhaps go to Singapore,a country with very limited resources except its location, very prosperous and hard working, safe for all tourists-who don’t chew gum- and safe (mostly) for low income workers from other countries.
    Its also a democracy and furthermore has the world’s best airline for 2019!
    DXB has probably done for its tourism industry what Macron has, requiring UK citizens to get tourist visas.
    Immediatly losing a reasonable percentage of tourists and their income.

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    This news brought shock to the UK, and a huge impact on a young man, who has already been in isolation for 6 months. I read the details in The Times a few days ago. Despite not speaking Arabic, he “made a full confession in Arabic and signed it”. His trial and life sentence, in a 5 minute hearing without a lawyer, is an abuse of their own due process!

    i have stayed and transited on Etihad, with stopovers over many years, in many of The Emirate states.
    I also recall (If you can find this Alex), a general forum discussion in the transit or importation of over 330 of “Over the counter Medicines” that would be unlawful to carry in UAE. One Businessman transiting was stopped with a Codeine Linctus (mild non scheduled light anesthetic contact cough mix drugs in the UK)at the airport, ending up 6 months in Jail. H bought it for a cough at Boots.
    If i recall Alex there was a great response from DR’s and Healthcare facility Directors such as me…?)

    Sadly in the UAE there is much Hypocrisy in laws, and cultural attitudes, and little decent rights or Human rights if you get on the wrong side of the law. Complete isolation, almost starvation, cells with N natural light or windows in claustrophobic conditions, described an torture by International Justice groups.
    Some major case seems to come up every 4 months?!!

    I think we as responsible traveller, want to support and add to the Economy of such Countries same with China and Chinese Airlines), that i choose not too travel with.

    May i suggest this in terms of Golden rules for travelling with Medication, and avoiding the next safety issue which is also prevalent now?

    As a Healthcare Director, (Refer to FCO by all means), but all BT readers, very different customs regulations exist in the UAE especially, as well as other medications. Importation, or transit carrying medication without the documentation below, outs you at great risk:

    May i advice extreme caution, and always carry various paperworks with you:

    1. A letter saying you “attend and are registered at The GP. Practice, and have to take medications prescribed by GP or Consultant, can be generated for you. It does not have to state Medical conditions, but can list the medications. Making it generalistic, unspecific, but as long as you prescribed that prohibited medication. you Are clear. This can be pain killers, steroids used as rys, congestions, for allergy sprays, eye, and ear drops, many medications we take for granted buy at a Supermarket here even. headed paper with a phone contact on,

    2. Also ask you Pharmacist to Photo copy that specific prescription, and any others he has dispensed. Keep then in their original boxes or bottles, packs.

    3. Carry any amount you may need even for delays, in hand baggage, and keep your main papers or copies to be produced in yr hand luggage.
    In yr baggage bags store them in an Pharmacy bag, top of your suitcase, and split the paperwork to inside the bag on the tip of the suitcase. This shows openness, honesty, easily ready to be inspected if needs be. Carry copies with your travel documents, and leave the samne inside the locked bag top of Suitcase

    4. Consultant or Hospital Prescribed medicines, You may need a Hospital Consultants letter stating same, and keep in original boxes, and a photoCopy of the prescription, Pharmacies are aware and always will assist you in printing this out. Hospitals have a pre printed for where the Duty Dr can sign this.
    Paperwork as above is easy to general for when you travel, but ensure you have a Consultant or GP Letter dated within last 12 months. This should not be chargeable. If you lose or have short supplies when you travel, keeping these papers will mean many Countries can dispense emergency amounts also.
    Many Main International Nurses or Dr’s or medical Centres, can also give you a short supply to last a trip also.

    So many medications prohibited in countries are also not allowed to be transited, without these documents.
    You can then not be faulted or caught out in any respect if you carry the above. Even camera photo them in yr suitcase as you left them also wise.

    Sorry if this a slight variation if off tread, but it is part of travel Customs, laws, and immigration WorldWide, and so i hope this stimulates others to be protected from such actions. Many countries we travel to or transit with will have local variations.
    Always carry a file with these in.

    Meanwhile, lets keep in our prayers this man’s partner and his family, awful predicament, and hope a resolution can be found rapidly, for his trauma and medical needs on humanitarian grounds.

    We have too many British and EU Citizens in foreign Countries in similar situations if you think about it…?
    We could avoid our own Safety by holdin this simple travel documentation when we fly.

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    Thank you Marcus, very wise and useful advice here. I always carry some basic medicines with me, such as paracetamol and ibrofem, as well as disinfecting wipes. Though in over 40 years of travel I’ve never had a problem, I shall now leave them out of my carry on bag just in case.


    As above – Excellent advice from Marcus; however….
    We have just returned from DXB today and our stay definitely had a cloud over it.
    My wife has a medical condition (trigeminal neuropathy) which is permanent intense fascial pain and so a visit to DXB at the end of business trips or when it is cold in UK (makes the condition much worse) has been a regular feature of our travel over the last 6 years.
    We have taken all precautions re her medication (includes prohibited medicines such as tramadol) as Marcus suggested.
    I was googling around the issue last week in DXB and found a note on the BA website that in November the situation has now changed, ( https://www.britishairways.com/travel/flightops/public/en_gb).
    It is now necessary to have specific UAE government approval BEFORE you travel for a huge range of medications, between the UK government link and the UAE link it is not entirely clear if this pre approval is needed for transiting.
    Essentially we were concerned that effectively we had broken this directive already – not pleasant thought.

    This has definitely complicated our travel plans for Australia and other destinations to the point where we will not be using our usual route through the UAE – and I think that the risks of randomly changing directives and laws without notice make it too complicated.

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    Regarding medication – it is even more confusing for residents also. A few weeks ago on a social media forum it was highlighted that ALL residents and ALL visitors should register with the UAE health authorities if they wished to bring in any controlled or non controlled medication into the UAE and this included off the shelf medication from a Chemist, food supplements in tablet format and vitamins. Applications to bring in these medications would be approved (or not) within 24hrs and residents / visitors would be subjected to a search on arrival. Dear readers can you imagine the logistics of this, just in checking arrivals of an evening during the arrival bank. My other half has been visiting me here since 2011 and has carried essential medication for post cancer treatment such as high dosage pain killers and diabetic supplies that may be subject to exception but with a doctors letter and prescriptions without issue. I myself after each visit to Blighty bring back my Hypertension medication, vitamins, and other off the shelf supplies due to the high cost here. I have never had an issue.
    With this new requirement the likelihood that the other half would have to curtail or cease visits would put into question my remaining here. I am sure it would also have meant the same to other residents and potential visitors would have been thinking twice. Work colleagues here were concerned that elderly visitors / relatives travelling to the area for a few weeks could be prevented from travelling.
    Then last week an update on social media was published stating that the only medication that is to be pre registered was that which is hallucinogenic or narcotic based.

    Evidently the original requirement would have required visitors and residents to declare very personal medication.

    Thankfully my days are numbered here – and I know I will never ever return – I have done what I came to do and work wise it has been an amazing challenge, something that I could not have done in the UK, but don’t get me started on the social injustice mentioned by Captonian which is so accurate in the description. One day when I have exited for good I will write about it.

    Tom Otley

    Good news in this particular case

    Matthew Hedges: British academic pardoned by UAE


    I’m delighted he is being released but several lessons can be learned from this, some gleaned from academics I was speaking with over the weekend, and this applies not only to the UAE but also many other countries, including Greece, a full EU member.

    If you’re doing any research touching on any sensitive topic, such as security, aviation etc. first go to the relevant embassy, talk to an official there explaining the reason for your trip and get it in writing you have their permission.

    The second thing, no matter the pressure you’re under, never, ever, sign anything without first understanding it. Consular and legal access can often be denied so make sure there is someone who can go to your embassy so pressure can be applied from them for consular and legal access.

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    LP Travelling through these places where their sense of inferiority makes them supersensitive, it is possible to get arrested even for a critical remark. It might then be an idea to have practiced the sort of signature you doctor often has, i.e. almost illegible. Then when your confession is quoted in court you can point out that you did not sign your name to the document but wrote that it was “Total rubbish”. Better still don’t support these countries by working or visiting them.

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    I look forward to reading inthesandpit’s thoughts once they have escaped.. sorry – returned for the UAE.
    I have had a few interesting experiences working in the region occasionally over the years – including having a gun pulled on me by a senior military officer when he found me using his desk and phone that I had been told by his superior to use – just 30 mins earlier; I had no idea it was his – just following instructions.
    Having read the update above that was on social media regarding medication I think the situation is so confused with conflicting information from differing sources; any of which can be changed or implemented at a moments notice. We will no longer be routing through the UAE – life is complicated enough.


    Good news, but a warning to people to avoid going to, or travelling via, this evil stone-age hellhole. You are in danger even if only transiting the place.

    Radha Stirling. CEO and Founder of Detained In Dubai warns of dangers to Westerners of visiting the UAE

    Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who have been actively pushing for the release of British academic Matthew Hedges, commented today on the pardon just issued by the UAE government: “We are happy that Matthew Hedges has been released, but let us be clear, the UAE is trying to get themselves off the hook by issuing this pardon; they are asking for clemency, not granting it.

    “Matthew should never have been arrested; never should have been forced to sign a false confession in Arabic; never should have been locked up in solitary confinement for six months; never should have been tried for the outlandish charge of espionage; and most certainly never should have been sentenced to life imprisonment. The pardon does not undo any of that, and indeed, Matthew’s innocence has not been admitted by the UAE; the wrongs done to him have not been acknowledged. Obviously we welcome Matthew’s release, but this is far from an optimal resolution.

    “By pardoning Matthew, the UAE hopes to salvage its image with a seemingly humane act of clemency. They want this pardon to divert attention from the grave legal misconduct, civil and human rights violations, false prosecution, and flagrant disregard for their relationship with the UK, exposed by this case.

    “The British government has been negligent about the real risks posed to UK citizens when they travel to the UAE, and they have been inadequate in their response when Britons subsequently face legal problems in the Emirates. We have pushed the British government to increase its travel warnings about the UAE to, for instance, caution travelers about the severe curtailments of free speech in the country, where someone can be jailed over a tweet, a Facebook post, or even a WhatsApp message to a friend.

    “Given what has occurred in Matthew Hedges case, the UK needs to seriously reassess our relationship with the UAE. Should we really be allowing the Emirates to market itself to tourists in Britain, while they are currently being investigated by the British police for kidnapping someone from the streets of England; and while they are defying a United Nations enquiry into the abduction of several foreign nationals from international waters? The pardon of Matthew Hedges does not resolve the issues that led to his wrongful detention and prosecution, and it should not cause us to be complacent about making a serious re-evaluation of our ties with the UAE.”

    UAE Criminal and Civil Justice Specialists. Contact us on [email protected]

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