British expat faces Dubai jail for ‘witnessing’ hotel row

Asa Hutchinson
Asa Hutchinson was sentenced for assault in her absence.

A young British expat faces prison after witnessing a fight in a Dubai hotel lobby, a campaign group says.

Asa Hutchinson’s friends got involved in a row with a drunk Swedish man who had fallen asleep on a sofa.

Detained in Dubai said the man reported it to police but as her friends had left the United Arab Emirates, the 21-year-old was being “victimised” because she lives there.

The Foreign Office said it had assisted Miss Hutchinson following the incident.

It added it was “ready to provide further help if requested”.

Miss Hutchinson, originally from Chelmsford, Essex, faces charges of assault, theft and fraud following the incident which happened in 2016.

She said she “could not cope” with going to jail.

Detained in Dubai, which is representing Miss Hutchison, said the argument started after her friends took selfies with the man, aged in 50s, while he was asleep and he woke up.

He started punching them but they fled. The man called the police and the young men were taken to Bur Dubai police station.

‘Fled the country’

Detained in Dubai said Miss Hutchinson’s friends managed to get their passports back and have flown home.

When the man found out that Miss Hutchinson lives in the UAE and is still there, he transferred the charges to her, the organisation said.

Miss Hutchinson, an account manager for a global transportation company, has been bailed and a court date is yet to be fixed.

Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said: “In Dubai, if two parties are in dispute or arguing, the first person to speak to the police is usually the one who is believed. Often it is a race to get to the police first.”

She added: “It is clear in this case that Asa was a bystander, not involved with the fight and is only being victimised because the alleged culprits have left the country.”

Detained in Dubai was involved in the case of Scot Jamie Harron who was jailed for touching a man’s hip.


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