American Faces Three Years In Prison In Dubai For Smoking Marijuana Back Home

An American man is now facing years behind bars in Dubai after police found traces of marijuana in his system which he legally smoked before traveling. 

LA resident Peter Clark flew to Dubai on February 24, where he was supposed to look at professional recording studios.

Sadly, after landing, he fell ill with pancreatitis and was taken in for emergency treatment at a hospital, where doctors tested his urine for drug traces.

Image credit: Detained in Dubai

After finding marijuana in his system, the hospital immediately reported to the police, and they came to arrest him. 

According to Detained in Dubai, on March 3, Clark was taken to Al Barsha police station, where he was placed in a cell with three other men – still not knowing why he was being locked up.

He was then taken to the Anti-Narcotics unit and put in a cell with at least 10 other men arrested for drug crimes.

According to a press release, Clark was denied medication he’d been given by the doctors, which resulted in one of his veins getting infected.

The man was allowed to return to his hotel on March 6, where he had to wait to be contacted by authorities, and now, a month later, he is still there facing years behind bars. 

Clark made a statement saying:

“I was absolutely stunned to learn that I was being charged for having residue marijuana in my system. I smoked it legally back home, long before I ever even got on the plane.

I knew about the country’s strict drug laws, but never for a moment did I consider that I could be thrown in prison over something I did in America.

I tried to explain it to the police and be as cooperative as possible, but I’m just being thrown through the system. The moment I went to hospital, my time in Dubai was ruined, but I didn’t realise that was only the start of the nightmare.”

Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai – who represents Clark – said:

“The UAE’s arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes means that Peter potentially faces years in prison for legally smoking marijuana. Even if found innocent, he can be dragged through a slow and costly legal process.

Visitors to Dubai who have planned for a short stay holiday can end up embroiled in a system that will easily cost them $50,000 – $100,000 in hotels and legal fees but some outcomes are even worse.

Corrupt police informants have been used by the prosecution to upgrade possession cases to that of drug dealing, which carries a life sentence. British national and military veteran Andy Neal, was jailed for more than a year on false drug dealing allegations, before finally being exonerated after our Detained in Dubai campaign.”

She added:

“We’ve seen foreigners arrested for drugs taken outside of the UAE, specs of almost undetectable marijuana ‘dust’ at the bottom of belongings, a poppyseed from a bread roll consumed at the airport, pharmaceutical and prescription medicine, and even a glass of wineserved onboard Emirates airlines.

Arresting someone for smoking marijuana in their own country, weeks before they even entered the UAE, is unfairly persecuting tourists who have behaved well within Dubai itself. The US State department needs to revise travel warnings to Americans who could end up arbitrarily detained.”

What are your thoughts on this worrying story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share if you’ve enjoyed the read. 

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