x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

US veteran 'had gun in luggage'

A security contractor on his way to Kabul was allegedly found with the firearm and later, it is claimed, with banned prescription drugs.

Michael Joslin, a Pennsylvania National Guardsman, who was arrested last month at Dubai airport on his way to Afghanistan, holds Mackenzie, his newborn daughter, in March.
Michael Joslin, a Pennsylvania National Guardsman, who was arrested last month at Dubai airport on his way to Afghanistan, holds Mackenzie, his newborn daughter, in March.

ABU DHABI // A former American serviceman is being detained in Dubai after a handgun was found in his luggage as he passed through Dubai International Airport. The Public Prosecution in Dubai confirmed yesterday that Michael Joslin, 28, of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was detained on charges of possessing a firearm. Joslin was arrested on May 9 during a day-long stopover at the Dubai airport. He was reportedly headed to Kabul, where he was scheduled to begin work for EMW, a private security firm. He said the weapon was approved both by Philadelphia International Airport and Emirates Airline before he boarded the flight. Stephen Pike, a spokesman for the US Embassy, confirmed Joslin had been arrested and detained, but could not provide details of the charges. "We are aware of the case and we are in contact with him. He has had routine consular visits," Mr Pike said, adding that consular representatives had visited him on Sunday. "We will continue to provide him with consular services as needed." Dubai Police also confirmed Joslin had been arrested, and that his case had been referred to the Public Prosecution. The Public Prosecution said investigations were continuing. No date for his first court appearance has been made public, but it is thought to be in the coming weeks. EMW terminated Joslin's contract days after his arrest. "EMW was not knowledgable about his actions and is in no way responsible for Mr Joslin's decision to transport a firearm and prescription to Dubai and Afghanistan, which violated EMW's stated company policies," it said in a statement. "The contract on which Mr Joslin was scheduled to work in Afghanistan on behalf of EMW itself strictly prohibits contractor personnel from carrying firearms in theatre." His family, meanwhile, is appealing for his release. "He's ready to break," Joanne Joslin, his wife, told The Delaware County Daily Times. "He's not really doing all right." The couple have a two-and-a-half-month-old child, while Mr Joslin also is a stepfather to his wife's two children. Joslin, who enlisted in the US air force after the September 11 attacks, told the Daily Times he was not aware of the restrictions on carrying firearms in his contract. "I didn't read my contract very thoroughly," Mr Joslin said. He was released on bail after nine days - at which time he surrendered his passport - but detained again after a urine test found banned prescription drugs in his system, according to the Daily Times. He said he was taking pain medication for a back injury suffered in a recent car accident. The US State Department warns travellers of the UAE's drug laws. "Some drugs normally taken under a doctor's supervision in the United States, and even some over-the-counter US drugs and medications, are classified as narcotics in the UAE and are illegal to possess," it says on its website. It also warns UAE authorities will confiscate any weapons transported through a civilian airport. "Americans have been arrested and jailed for transporting such weapons and equipment without the express written authorisation of the UAE Government, even though airline and US authorities allowed shipment on a US-originating flight," it says. In the US it is legal to carry firearms and ammunition in hold luggage, as long as the weapons are properly packed and declared to the airline during check-in. Emirates Airline's guidelines, published on its website, state that dangerous goods require airline approval. Firearms must be transported in a locked, hard-sided container. However, a different part of the website warns: "For transfer and transit passengers who are connecting to onward flights, prior clearance to travel with firearms and ammunition must be obtained from the Dubai Airport Police Department and the Department of Civil Aviation." lmorris@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Salam Hafez