John Walters’ Wet Dream

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

The United Arab Emirates has figured out how to win the drug war:

A father-of-three who was found with a microscopic speck of cannabis stuck to the bottom of one of his shoes has been sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison.

Keith Brown, a council youth development officer, was travelling through the United Arab Emirates on his way back to England when he was stopped as he walked through Dubai’s main airport.

A search by customs officials uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g – so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar – on the tread of one of his shoes.

[...]

One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport. Painkiller codeine is also banned.

If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.

Mr Brown was detained and arrested in September last year and has been held in a cell with three other men in the city prison ever since.

This week the youth worker, who has two young children and a partner at home in Smethwick, West Midlands, was sentenced to four years in prison.

A 25-year-old Briton who was found with a similar speck in one pocket as he arrived on holiday has been awaiting sentence since November.

Meanwhile a Big Brother TV executive has so far been held without charge for five days after being arrested for possessing the health supplement melatonin.

The authorities claim to have discovered 0.01g of hashish in his luggage.

MORE:  Looks like this particular drug offender has since been released.

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12 Responses to “John Walters’ Wet Dream”

  1. #1 |  TomMil | 

    UAE built a multi-billion dollar skyscraper to encourage tourism and then they deal with it this way?! It’s just bizarre.

  2. #2 |  Nando | 

    That is just flat-out ridiculous. Aren’t they trying to turn their country into a tourist attraction? Remind me never to travel to Dubai.

  3. #3 |  Phil | 

    “If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.”

    What’s great about this policy is that it’s so capricious. I bet the rich and powerful never raise “suspicion” and thus are never even affected by these draconian laws.

    Also, if something as imperceptable as drug residue on the sole of a shoe can garner a conviction, planting “evidence” in order to harrass/dispose of problematic individuals must be incredibly easy.

    Of course, these sorts of human rights abuses aren’t condemned by the powers that be the way China’s abuses are — after all, at least the UAE aren’t communists, right.

  4. #4 |  Chris in AL | 

    I travel to India quite a bit, and one of our options is to travel through Dubai. Some of the other guys have taken it. But I can tell you, I won’t be. This is insane.

  5. #5 |  John Doe | 

    I had seen the beginning of this story a few months back. I’m very skeptical that it’s actually true. Has anyone followed this up with the UAE authorities in print? Sounds more like a story started to scare people against travelling there more than actually being true.

  6. #6 |  Bronwyn | 

    At least they’re civilized in Dubai, only handing out prison sentences – had these passengers been traveling through Saudi Arabia, they’d be getting the death penalty.

    On the KSA entry cards is a big red stamp – “Death to Drug Traffickers”

  7. #7 |  Zeb | 

    Honestly, is there anyone who doesn’t have .003 grams of something illegal on the bottom of their shoe? They probably don’t even need to plant anything ro do anything crooked to arrest anyone they want to with these laws. I will also put UAE on the list of places not to visit.

  8. #8 |  Danno49 | 

    I am fairly certain I have .003 grams of dog feces on the bottom of my shoe. They are welcome to examine that. In the process, they will get what I think of them.

  9. #9 |  Against Stupidity | 

    This extreme example of prohibition only illustrates how seriously ridiculous it really is.

  10. #10 |  andyinsdca | 

    I’d like to see this verified independently. It looks like I’ll be flying to Dubai a couple times next year….and even tho I don’t do drugs, this concerns me.

  11. #11 |  Against Stupidity | 

    Better not take any American money with you. Its bound to contain a few micrograms of cocaine.

  12. #12 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    It is very true. I spent time in Jebel Ali as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in between Gulf Wars. Google “Dubai” and “drugs” and you’ll see a list of very reputable news events. The suspicion here is that the authorities are paid a hefty bounty for each infraction. The State dept once put out a list of things not to take, like OTC medicines and such. Its a very Western looking place but the authority is strict Islam.

    http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/news/article3607846.ece
    http://www.lostweekend.tv/2008/03/are_dubai_customs_being_paid_a_1.html
    http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/news/article3552235.ece

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