British man jailed in Dubai after row over £2 taxi fare

A British man has told how he was jailed in Dubai for more than two months and trapped there for two years after a row over a £2 taxi fare. David Ballantine, 46, also ended up homeless and slept in hotel toilets after his savings ran out while he waited for his court hearing in the UAE city.

He said his nightmare began when he jumped into a cab with his friends, before seconds later they told the driver to stop over confusion about which of the group was supposed to be in the car.

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But the businessman said the driver kept going for nearly 150 feet before he stopped near a policeman, and complained to the officer, who told Mr Ballantine that he would have to pay for the trip.

But Ballantine claimed the driver disputed that he had paid and jumped out of his taxi and attacked him before the police officer stepped in and arrested the British man.He was later jailed for 69 days for supposedly not paying the fare, and accused of overstaying his visa when he appeared before court – despite the fact his passport had been confiscated.

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Ballantine claimed the UK government did nothing to help him. Details of Ballantine’s ordeal came after reports of a string of British nationals being harshly treated by authorities in Dubai. They include Jamie Harron, from Stirling, who was sentenced to prison last month when a businessman accused him of touching his hip in a bar. He was freed within days only after Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered he should be exonerated.

Source Credit: Independent
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