A U.S. citizen is reported to have been detained in Dubai for having smoked marijuana.
In Las Vegas.
The place it’s authorized.
Peter Clark, 51, had been in Dubai for in the future when he fell sick with pancreatitis and was rushed to the hospital, in response to the Every day Mail. Nurses took a urine pattern that confirmed traces of the drug. As required by Dubai legislation, they knowledgeable the police of the outcomes.
Clark had final smoked marijuana days earlier than flying from his house in Las Vegas on a enterprise journey within the United Arab Emirates. Since being launched from the hospital he has been required to remain in his lodge whereas awaiting a choice as as to whether prosecutors will cost him.
“I used to be completely shocked to be taught that I used to be being charged as a result of residual marijuana in my system,” he advised the Mail. “I smoked it legally again in America lengthy earlier than I even received on the airplane. I knew about Dubai’s strict medicine legal guidelines however by no means for one second did I feel one thing I legally did in my very own nation would result in my arrest.”
Not the primary time
This isn’t the primary time a foreigner has been arrested in Dubai and elsewhere for authorized conduct carried out earlier than arriving within the nation the place the identical motion is prohibited. In 2019, U.Okay. citizen Laleh Shahravresh was arrested for insulting her ex-husband’s new spouse in a Fb remark, in response to Detained in Dubai. Shahravresh reportedly had made the posts three years earlier when she was in London, however she and her teenage daughter have been detained after they flew to the Dubai to attend a funeral.
Below the UAE’s cyber-crime legal guidelines, an individual might be jailed or fined for making defamatory statements on social media. Her case ultimately was settled with a wonderful.
It’s unattainable to overstate the significance of understanding the legal guidelines and tradition of nations you plan to go to. In some nations, these swimsuit selfies you posted a number of years in the past is perhaps deemed pornographic. In others, anti-depressants, painkillers, and even over-the-counter cough syrups are banned or have particular guidelines round them that would trigger you issues.
In Singapore, chewing gum is prohibited, apart from medical use.
Even more durable to anticipate, that moveable secure you carry your valuables in – cleverly disguised as an iced tea can – is perhaps lined with plaster that might be mistaken by airport safety for cocaine when a few of it breaks and leaks out into your baggage.
That’s what occurred to North Carolina businesswoman Amanda LaRoque on the island of Roatan, Honduras in 2017. LaRoque spent 10 days in a jail cell often known as “the cage” – offered solely with water and no matter meals or different luxuries gracious locals would possibly carry her – earlier than being launched.
No insurance coverage protection, however…
There isn’t a insurance coverage product that can pay your authorized payments should you run afoul of the legislation in a international jurisdiction. Nonetheless, some journey insurers have interaction “help firms” that can refer insurers’ shoppers to emergency authorized service suppliers.
Richard Atkins, a principal and authorized counsel for Philadelphia-based Worldwide Recoveries LLC, is one such supplier. For greater than 30 years, he has operated a global 24/7 authorized hotline.
“We do it for the journey insurance coverage trade, to verify international journey is safer from a authorized perspective,” Atkins mentioned in an interview. “We additionally do it for insurers that cowl expats and enterprise vacationers, in addition to for study-abroad packages.”
Atkins sometimes works by retainers with help firms and generally straight with insurers or their in-house help suppliers. The service includes an preliminary session with a lawyer with worldwide expertise. Generally, Atkins mentioned, the matter might be dealt with and solved simply by that decision. Different occasions that session additionally includes a convention or particular person name with or chosen community lawyer within the international county, and plenty of occasions that solves the authorized drawback.
“The place the consultations don’t clear up the issue, we make a referral to a colleague within the international nation,” Atkins mentioned. “That preliminary name is roofed, so for all of this, there isn’t any cost to the caller. In different circumstances, the place the person or household don’t have any funds to expend for a lawyer, we assist acquire the providers of free counsel – both courtroom appointed or the general public defender.”
Navigating authorized proceedings in international nations is as a lot a matter of understanding the tradition because the legislation. A easy matter may simply be exacerbated by missteps in etiquette or failure to reveal enough regret or deference. Atkins described a case by which a traveler was going through incarceration for having torn up a wad of the native forex – a severe offense in Thailand.
“We have been in a position to present that the defendant had obtained psychological remedy as a baby for conduct that included tearing up his mother and father’ cash,” Atkins mentioned. “When the decide understood the person’s psychological historical past, he dismissed the case.”
Penny smart, pound silly
As I’ve written beforehand, too few worldwide vacationers purchase journey insurance coverage – and those that do have a tendency to buy journey cancellation/interruption protection solely, foregoing medical/medical evacuation protection. A report by the U.S. Journey Insurance coverage Affiliation (USTIA) discovered that cancellation/interruption protection accounted for almost 90 % of advantages bought, whereas medical and medical evacuation advantages accounted for simply over 6 %.
Keep in mind Peter Clark? The headlines about him give attention to the hashish angle, however his troubles started with an sudden hospitalization. You’re simply as prone to change into sick or injured overseas as you’re at house – possibly extra so, as a result of lack of familiarity with terrain and customs and sensitivity to meals and local weather. Why would you enterprise forth with out offering your self with protection analogous to what you may have in your house nation?
And when you’re much less prone to be arrested than to get sick or injured, the results of authorized bother out of the country might be excessive. For those who’re planning to journey overseas, purchase the medical protection and ask about emergency authorized help.