x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Former police officer leaves UAE after being accused of insulting gesture

JG, from Denmark, reported a case of dangerous driving on the emirate’s roads to police on March 3.

DUBAI // A former police officer has flown back to his home country after being accused of abusing a motorist in Dubai.

J G, from Denmark, reported a case of dangerous driving on the emirate’s roads to police on March 3. He discovered two months later that a counter-case had been filed against him for allegedly showing the middle finger, an accusation he denied.

“I usually put great faith in police and legal systems and their ability to solve matters,” J G said. “However, I have encountered what I can only describe as a waking nightmare and have been more than disappointed and frightened by encountering the justice system.”

The incident involved an Emirati motorist who was tailgating J G, who said he had waved his hands to show the other driver he was too close.

The gesture may have caused offence, because J G said the other driver then attempted to cause a collision between their cars.

Two months after reporting the case, J G, who was working in the UAE, was arrested at a border crossing 200 kilometres from Dubai and spent seven hours in custody.

It is the third such case in the emirate in the past six months and lawyers believe police should demand a higher standard of proof.

Radha Stirling, founder of a legal charity, Detained in Dubai, said she was currently dealing with several similar cases.

“I get quite a few of these cases where there’s been dangerous driving and the person concerned about being reported for dangerous driving is essentially reporting the other person in advance to discredit the complainant,” she said.

“Police need to work on their evidence. I don’t think that one person saying another person has flipped the bird is enough to confiscate their passport and prosecute.

“A lot of people who are accused can’t get on with their lives. It causes massive disruption to their jobs, their families and their finances.”

J G contacted Detained in Dubai, whose representative in the UAE arranged with police for the case to be dismissed. He flew back to Copenhagen on May 24.

Col Saif Al Mazrouei, director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police, said the law was applied equally, irrespective of nationality or gender.

“All security services are available to any person, whether it’s traffic-related or crime-related, and whether the individual is a tourist or a resident,” he said. “As a person present in the country, you have rights.

“Today, when things happen on the road, police officers might not be there to see it. In cases where there are conflicting statements, the relevant authorities would call both parties in and, if need be, the case can be transferred to the prosecution. Most of the time, these things are resolved amicably, but in case it is not, the case will be transferred to the public prosecution where the legal procedures will take their course.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae