British man arrested in Dubai over Facebook post

Man arrested for promoting charity on social media

Updated: 
British man arrested in Dubai over Facebook post

A British man has been arrested in Dubai over a charity Facebook post.

Scott Richard, 42, has been held for three weeks after sharing a post promoting a crowdfunding campaign by a US charity to buy blankets, warm clothes and sleeping bags for refugees at a camp in Afghanistan.

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The economic development adviser, who grew up in Adelaide but has been living in Dubai and holds both British and Australian citizenship, has been charged with fundraising without permission

Laws introduced in the UAE in 2015 mean it is illegal to advertise fundraising campaigns in Dubai without written approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

The Mirror reports that Mr Richard has been denied bail and access to legal representation. It adds that he faces up to one year in prison and a fine of 100,000 dirhams (£20,000).

Speaking to the BBC, his mother, Penelope Haberfield, said he had only been able to change his clothes once every seven days and has to pay for water.

She said: "His wife is under extreme stress.

"She can only take the clothes to him once a week. She takes him money so that he can buy water and extra food.

"She's worried for him, she's worried for herself because if she runs out of money, will she have to leave the country? She's frightened for her children."

According to the Telegraph, Radha Stirling, from the group Detained in Dubai, said expats often fall foul of the law in the UAE and can easily become victims of other people because it's so easy to make a police complaint about someone.

She added: "There are so many laws, it's so different, yet so many expats, but UAE doesn't make any effort to inform expats.

"In a case like this where it's so obviously unjust we are hoping for diplomatic intervention which the Australian Government has done in the past."

The BBC reports the UK Foreign Office is also "providing support".