An Aberdeenshire grandfather has been accused of trespass after complaining about a noisy neighbour while looking after his infant grandchild in the United Arab Emirates.
Ian Mackellar’s daughter has recently relocated to Dubai and he was in the Middle East over the festive period to help her adjust to her new surroundings.
But the 75-year-old became involved in an altercation on New Year’s Eve when one of his daughter’s neighbours hosted a party, with loud music blaring out until the early hours in the morning, advocacy group Detained in Dubai told STV News.
Mr Mackellar, from Newtonhill near Stonehaven, may not be allowed back to Scotland after a complaint was filed against him.
It is said he had messaged his daughter’s neighbours to keep the noise down and be mindful of the fact there was an 18-month-old child next door. His daughter also needed to be up early to start work at 5am on New Year’s Day.
When the music was played louder, Mr McKellar visited the neighbours while carrying his granddaughter to ask again to keep the noise down, Detained in Dubai claimed.
When nobody responded at the door, Mr McKellar headed down an open side path to the garden. He could see guests in attendance, so asked them if they could move the party indoors.
But it is alleged that multiple guests started pushing him backwards, causing him to stumble. He claims that drinks were thrown over him and his granddaughter while attempting to leave.
Mr Mackellar intended to file a police report regarding what had happened that night, but a complaint was launched against him for trespassing before he could.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: “It is standard practice in Dubai to pre-emptively file a police report when at risk of being reported.
“The prosecution tends to side with whomever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim.
“This is how people familiar with Dubai justice manipulate the system to their advantage.
“It is commonplace for foreigners in this situation to offer financial compensation to their accuser in order to drop the case.”
Mr Mackellar was scheduled to return to Scotland on January 10 but now remains in the UAE indefinitely where he has no access to medical care and where he will be separated from his wife.
“This is a very sad situation. Nobody would ever imagine that a polite request to turn the music down would result in a travel ban and criminal prosecution”, said Ms Stirling.
“Again and again, we are reminded that a simple trip to Dubai can indeed be a one way ticket. If the case isn’t dropped, Ian will likely end up in prisons notorious for human rights violations, and he simply doesn’t deserve it.”
Ms Stirling has reached out to Ian’s MP, Andrew Bowie, for assistance.
A spokesman for Bowie’s office said: “Andrew has engaged with the Foreign Office after being contacted by Mr McKellar, and has given details of his case to the relevant minister.
“Andrew’s office are giving Mr McKellar’s family advice and support, and are working to help get him the medical help he needs.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are providing consular assistance to a British man in Dubai.”
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