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Mum thrown in Dubai jail with daughter, 4, 'after drinking glass of red wine on flight from London'
A mum was locked up in a Dubai jail for three days with her four-year-old daughter after enjoying a glass of wine on the flight from Gatwick. Dr Ellie Holman, 44, was arrested after touching down in the country and being questioned by an immigration official. Possession of alcohol or being under its influence in public is a crime in the United Arab Emirates. The mum from Kent was then taken to a 'baking' detention center with her little daughter Bibi in Dubai airport and kept from contacting her husband. Terrifyingly, Dr Holman, who is a dentist and has three other children, has had her passport confiscated and could now face 12 months in the country while her case is dealt with.
She said Bibi was forced to relieve herself on the detention centre floor during their ordeal and that she had never "heard her cry" like that before, the Mail Online reports. Dr Holman, from Sevenoaks, Kent, has lost £30,000 so far in legal fees and missed work and says her savings have been obliterated by the situation. She flew to the country on July 13 and was offered a glass of red wine on the Emirates airline flight with her meal. But when she got there she was taken aside and questioned by an official who said her visa was no longer valid. As Dr Holman had visited UAE several times before on a visa that hadn't expired she assumed it was still valid.
But the official said her visa was only valid for a single visit to the country and she would have to return to London. She was then questioned about the wine she had drunk. When the discussion became heated, Dr Holman began filming the dispute on her phone and was surrounded by armed police within seconds. She was told filming inside an airport is a criminal offence. After the terrified pair were put in a cell in the airport they were then taken a police station and told to sleep in a canteen area for inmates.
A sample of her blood was taken as evidence she had drunk alcohol. It came back showing a blood alcohol level of 0.04% - well below the UK drink-drive limit. Dr Holman claims they were refused a pillow, change of clothing or access to a toilet and the food wasn't consumable. Her distraught husband Gary flew out to find the pair, who were being kept from friends in the country. After her stay in jail Dr Holman was taken back tot he airport and bailed. Gary has taken Bibi back to the UK while Dr Holman is staying in the country with friends.
Gary called the whole experience "devastating". Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained In Dubai, the British human rights group representing Ellie, said in a statement to Mail Online: "The UAE maintains a deliberately misleading façade that alcohol consumption is perfectly legal for visitors.
"This is exampled by bars at the airport, by hotels, restaurants and clubs serving drinks. "Tourists cannot be blamed for believing that the Emirates are tolerant of Western drinking habits but this is far from reality. "It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed."