Dubai expats face legal limbo

By Ben Thompson
Business reporter, BBC World, Dubai

Dubai
Dubai can be both glamorous and confusing for expats

Dubai is the expat dream. Year-round sunshine, sandy beaches and a tax-free lifestyle to boot.

Every year, thousands of people come here to seek adventure, to start a new life or to find a new job.

For some of them, the dream destination quickly turns into a nightmare as they inadvertently find themselves on the wrong side of the law, which has been laid down by the ruling Maktoum family of Dubai and is based on Sharia.

Drug offences

In the rush to start a new life in the sun, many – especially expats from Western countries – overlook the local laws that could land them a heavy fine, or worse; a deportation order.

In some cases, breaking those laws can even lead to lengthy prison sentences.

This fact has become widespread knowledge around the world after British expat Michelle Palmer was charged with indecent behaviour in a public place, as well as alcohol related charges, following an alleged affair with fellow Brit, Vince Acors. She has yet to be sentenced.

Dubai’s hardline stance on drugs has also generated its fair share of international headlines in recent years, including high profile cases of visitors jailed for carrying prescription medicines.

Illegal drugs that would carry little more than a warning in the West can lead to prison sentences of up to six years. In the last 12 months, 64 British nationals have been arrested in the UAE for drugs offences

 

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