A mum of three who claims she was thrown in a Dubai jail cell with her four-year-old daughter, faces a year detained in the strict Arab country after drinking what she says was a single glass of wine provided on an Emirates flight.
British dentist Ellie Holman, 44, was arrested by immigration officers and thrown in an airport detention centre after her international flight landed in Dubai on July 13.
Following an eight-hour flight, Dr Holman said airport officials stopped her because her visa had expired and told her she would have to immediately return to London.
The idea of getting back on a long-haul flight with her young child was “unthinkable” and she entered into a heated argument with the immigration officer who asked her if she had been drinking, The Sun reported.
“I told him I had a glass of wine on the flight. It was given to me free by Emirates Airlines staff,” she said.
The officer told her alcohol consumption was a crime in the United Arab Emirates.
Dr Holman then began recording the conversation to use it as evidence, until she was reportedly swarmed by armed police who arrested her and her child, and confiscated her phone and the pair’s passports.
The woman was taken to a police station for an alcohol test, which she said revealed 0.04 per cent of alcohol in her blood.
Dr Holman described having to beg police for food and water. The Kent woman claimed she and her daughter Bibi were also denied permission to use the toilet, so her little girl had to urinate on the “baking hot and foul smelling” cell floor, The Sun reported.
Upon finding out what happened to his family, Dr Holman’s frantic partner Gary rushed to Dubai. He was allowed to collected his daughter and bring her home, but was forced to leave the frightened mum behind.
The prisoner was released on bail three days later, but said she now faced up to a year in the strict Arab country away from her three children and partner while she waits for her case to be heard.
“My practice is closed. All our savings have gone,” Dr Holman said.
She has been staying with friends in Dubai but said the ordeal has so far cost her more than $52,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed employment.