British man faces Dubai jail for ‘smoking cannabis before he traveled there’
Connor Clements, 24, from Liverpool, says he had been sleeping on the floor of a cell with 25 others before being released on bail. Flying to Dubai to change his life and to start work as a waiter, he was arrested after medical tests at his new job revealed traces of cannabis.
Because of the United Arab Emirates’ zero-tolerance policy on drugs, the presence of cannabis in the bloodstream is classed as possession.
During a court hearing which, Clements claims, lasted “less than a minute,” he was sentenced to two years in prison and is now out on bail, ahead of his appeal hearing just before Christmas. His passport has been confiscated.
The Everton man told the Liverpool Echo: “They are saying I smoked it here - but I did [it] back home, they have got no proof... I used to smoke a lot back home.”
He added that he moved to Dubai because he had become “stuck in a rut” and wanted a fresh start. “I came here to stop everything. It was a chance for me to change my life. But it’s been nothing but a nightmare," he said.
Following his arrest, Clements spent several weeks in a Dubai prison, describing the experience as “horrific." He said “the prison is atrocious. I didn’t even go outside once. It was a living nightmare. They put me in a room with 25 people, I was sleeping on the floor. I didn’t know what to do. I can’t speak Arabic. No-one spoke English. It was outrageous. I don’t want to go back in prison."
More than 200 British people have been detained in the UAE so far this year. British tourist Jamie Harron was handed a three-month prison sentence after he accidentally touched another man’s hip in a bar. The charges were dropped following significant international pressure.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said British authorities are assisting with Clements’ case. “We have visited him on several occasions, made calls to the prosecutor’s office to get updates on his case, and are in regular contact with his family."