The United Arab Emirates remains a gulag for drug users. Case in point: Peter Clark, a U.S. citizen from Las Vegas, has been detained in Dubai since March 3 when he was charged with possessing hash. Clark arrived in Dubai on February 24 and within days was ill with pancreatitis. At the hospital, he was tested for illegal drugs in his system. The test detected hash or marijuana. And hence began Clark's "Midnight Express"-like experience.
Clark claims he did not use hash in Dubai and that the test reflected his use in the U.S.
According to a report at Detained in Dubai:
"Still in a drowsy state, having not been able to eat or drink since he was admitted, on the 3rd of March, Peter was handcuffed and taken to Al Barsha police station, where he was put in a detention cell with three other men. He didn’t understand why he had been detained. He had not brought any drugs into the UAE, purchased or consumed any drugs in Dubai. He knew the law.
"Still feeling extremely unwell, having suffered hyperglycemia and respiratory alkalosis with a blood sugar level more than 10 times what it should have been due to the pancreatitis, Peter was then taken to the Anti-Narcotics unit and thrown into a filthy cell with at least 10 other men arrested for drug possession. The hospital had provided a number of medications (including antibiotics) for him to continue but the police denied his repeated requests for help, causing the vein in the crook of his left elbow to become infected from the multiple IVs the hospital administered.
"On the 6th of March, Peter was released from his flea-ridden cell and told to return to his hotel and await their contact. Over a month later, Peter is still in Dubai and without intervention, facing years in prison."
Others have been held in the UAE in the past for having as little as a poppy seed on the sole of a shoe.
"Peter Clark is still in Dubai and without intervention, facing years in prison."
Clark's attorney Radha Stirling, who founded the Detained in Dubai organization, commented:
"The police told Peter they were taking him back to his hotel from the hospital but instead they took him to Al Barsha police station and locked him up. Since being bailed, he’s had to move from hotel to hotel. The police kept calling him and asking him to come and collect his passport, teasing him that he would be freed or deported, but they were luring him to the station to interrogate him, to take mugshots and fingerprints and to hold him in a cell for days. There does not seem to be an end in sight and cases like this can go south quickly.
“It’s imperative the US Embassy get involved and speak with their counterparts at the UAE’s foreign office. The UAE and U.S. have strong diplomatic ties and the UAE is America’s closest ally in the Middle East. But ties have been strained after the violations of Iran sanctions by Ras Al Khaimah and the hacking of U.S. nationals. The United States needs to ensure that citizens who visit the Emirates are safe from legal abuse."
In 2017, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe guitarist DJ Williams was busted in Dubai for possessing a vape pen. He spent three months in jail.