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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Swedish woman deported from Dubai for taking pictures of immigration officer during 'angry row' 

Attorney General said criminal charges have been dropped against Ellie Holman

Ellie Hollman was accused of taking pictures of immigration officials at Dubai International Airport. Amy Leang / The National
Ellie Hollman was accused of taking pictures of immigration officials at Dubai International Airport. Amy Leang / The National

A Swedish woman has been deported for taking pictures of an immigration officer during a row at Dubai International Airport, the emirate’s attorney general said.

Ellie Holman, 44, arrived on an Emirates flight from London Gatwick on July 13 but immigration desk officials found her Swedish passport expired on June 10.

Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan said she then produced an Iranian passport and was told she qualified for a temporary visa that allowed for a 96-hour stay, shorter than she had planned.

According to a statement, said Ms Holman “refused angrily to the additional payment fees that the process would require and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone".

The attorney general said initial charges were issued against Ms Holman for profanity and photographing a government official at a border crossing, which is a restricted area. Most airports ban photographing or filming airport officials or immigration entry points.

She initially told British media that her detention related to having a glass of wine on her flight to Dubai, which is not an offence nor a reason for her detention.

Ms Holman, a dentist who is originally from Sweden and now lives in Kent in England, was travelling with her young daughter, Bibi.

The attorney general refuted claims that Ms Holman was not looked after and said: “The woman and her child remained together in the airport security office for less than 24 hours while services were provided to them, taking into full account and consideration of her four-year-old daughter.”

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The child’s father and Ms Holman’s partner, Gary, immediately received his daughter on arrival and departed Dubai soon after.

The attorney general said prosecutors have dropped the charges and deported the Swedish national immediately.

Ms Holman, who has been to the UAE many times before, had come to Dubai for five days to visit friends.