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Mildred

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Spread the knowledge [Jan. 29th, 2008|06:01 pm]
Mildred
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So here is what is happening with Diz, my partner.

I waited to go public with this because I wanted to preserve his privacy, and thank you for understanding the cryptic nature of my communication lately.

On Saturday morning Diz flew into Dubai airport and was detained at immigration. We kind of knew he would be profiled because he has long hair and looks oriental (they are very racist against Asians in Dubai, and ultra-conservative). He knew the score going in: prescription drugs are illegal, dress conservatively and detox for a week (even trace amounts of either illegal or prescription drugs in the urine are prosecuted as 'drug smuggling'. I'm not joking).

They found melatonin on him, which he bought over the counter in the US. Legally, you can even buy it over the counter in Dubai.

They arrested him, anyway.

He was strip searched, forced to do a urine test and thrown in jail. In their search they dug into the bottom of his bag and came up with a few fragments of dirt, which they allege is hashish, which is totally outrageous. They also claimed that the melatonin was actually drugs, which was equally, clearly absurd.

The sentence if convicted is a blanket four years, with a minimum of six months in prison in one of Dubai's squalid, third world facilities.

After detaining him for three days, the melatonin was determined to be just that, and his urine was clear. Now they've asked for a seven day extension to test the dirt, and we trust that he will be on his way home after that.

They've been psychologically abusing all of us. One minute we're told they'll let him go as soon as they test the pills, the next we're told they are going through and pressing charges against him. Taking care of his affairs and keeping all of his close friends and relations, spanning four continents, up to date has been a full time job. Nadya, myself and Scott (his friend in Dubai: read his account here) have been working around the clock, ready to wage a campaign for his freedom in the event that he is charged. Scotty and Nadya are both pretty much fucking angels.

I spoke to him for the first time today. He rang me and answered my greeting with "Hello from the Dubai tourism board!", so rest assure he is in good spirits and taking all of this very well.

What can you do?

He wants your emails and letters. He's bored as hell. Send them to me at mildredvon at yahoo dot come and I'll make sure they get to him. He hasn't been charged with anything as yet, so there's not much we can do but wait.

In the event they decide to prosecute him we will wage a campaign for his release and we will need all the help we can get for it, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for an acquittal and apology over the next seven days.

Obviously, we're preparing for the worst. We have no guarantee they're not going to sentence him, and they've been threatening us with this possibility every time the consulate tells us things are going well. We've begun the task of taking care of his affairs in London in case they hold him more than the ten days. Things could always be a lot worse, and he's being treated well and has so much love and support from all of you guys.

The moral of this story is, no one is safe: If you go to Dubai, you are guilty until proven innocent under their unique little brand of sharia-lite laws. DO NOT be fooled by their campaign of hearts and minds and their self appointed branding as some sort of open-minded oasis in the Middle East. Diz is not alone: he is actually in the company of many other hapless victims who were singled out to make an example of. Do not think this could not happen to you. His story needs to get out so this does not happen to anyone else.

This is the message we need to get across: Dubai is not a safe tourist destination for Westerners.
Do your own research, and here are just a few links to get you started:

Woman hospitalized in Dubai and given painkillers, arrested at airport for it

Briton held in Dubai for painkillers in system
Canadian anti-drug agent arrested for...drugs
15 year old tourist accused of homosexual acts after being gang raped
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: liz_lowlife
2008-01-29 07:16 pm (UTC)
Heavens, that is dreadful!
I hope it all goes well for him...
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[User Picture]From: liz_lowlife
2008-01-29 07:17 pm (UTC)
P.S Please pass on my good luck wishes to him!
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:21 pm (UTC)
I will do, for sure, and thanks!
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[User Picture]From: benson3
2008-01-29 07:20 pm (UTC)

Fucking Hell

I will send him some good email this evening. I will keep you both in my bestt houghts. I will get this information through to some friends in Detroit who are from Dubai and well aware of these issues. They may be able to inform the right folks in Dubai to help Diz from the inside as it were.

Can you email me this post with all of the html for those links??

benson@mangelamode.com

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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Fucking Hell

Hey Benson, will do, and you are a star!
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[User Picture]From: saiira
2008-01-29 07:27 pm (UTC)
I hope he comes through this ok and is released soon.

We were always going to visit a friend who lives in Dubai, thank god she is now coming home in a month because I am not keen on visiting anymore.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:35 pm (UTC)
This is the very reason I want word to get out. So many Westerners are given the impression that Dubai is just like any other tourist destination, and wind up ensnared by their profiling techniques.
Thanks for your sentiment, and I'll pass it along.
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From: emilyofartifice
2008-01-29 07:40 pm (UTC)
OMG, how horrible. I have a friend who wants to be a nurse there, she doesn't do any drugs but the thought that she could be framed like that is terrifying. Thanks for posting this. Best of luck to your friend.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:48 pm (UTC)
There's a massive ex-pat community in Dubai. They walk on eggshells, but generally have positive stories to tell of living and working there.
But you run the a risk with thweir 'don't ask don't tell' policy for Westerners: a glass of wine without your husbands permission: prison. Co-habiting with a room-mate of the opposite gender: prison. The list goes on.
Tell her to get a job in Miani if she like the beach :)
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[User Picture]From: akazukinchan
2008-01-29 07:42 pm (UTC)
That's horrible, outrageous. My thoughts and best wishes are with you both.
xxxxxx
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and I'll pass it along.
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From: psycholibrarian
2008-01-29 07:46 pm (UTC)
Oh. My. God.

My uplifting emails to Diz will shortly ensue.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm sure he'd be very appreciative.
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[User Picture]From: warren_ellis
2008-01-29 07:55 pm (UTC)
Posted to warrenellis.com, my LJ, my MySpace bulletin net, and my email list.

-- W
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 07:58 pm (UTC)
Warren, there are no words. Thank you so much for helping us get the word out there, and I hope some good will come of this.
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[User Picture]From: cursive_recluse
2008-01-29 07:59 pm (UTC)
I only heard about this through Warren, but I'll be passing this along to everyone I can. It's nigh unthinkable that in the CIVILIZED world we live in today this kind of bullshit can still happen.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:07 pm (UTC)
Hi, and thanks for your involvement.
In any other country, if they don't like the look of you they send you home. I would like to see Dubai follow the example of the developed world by doing that rather than detaining and throwing tourists in prison. If word gets around, maybe things will change.
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[User Picture]From: inkymitts
2008-01-29 08:00 pm (UTC)
All my love to both of you, I cannot think of less deserving people for this to happen to.
xx
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:08 pm (UTC)
Aye, this being the guy who offers shelter to his friends, loans money to anyone in need and subscribes to 'daily_puppy'.
We'll get him home, and thanks for the kind words.
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[User Picture]From: chaios_kity
2008-01-29 08:01 pm (UTC)
*Offers utterly useless emotional support*
and am reposting this now.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:09 pm (UTC)
No such thing as useless emotional support :)
Thank you very much for your help.
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[User Picture]From: miss_glitch
2008-01-29 08:03 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, poor Diz, and poor you :(

I really hope everything works out okay x
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:10 pm (UTC)
We're alright, we're just taking it one day at a time. Things could still be a lot worse: had he failed the urine test there would be nothing the consulate could do, and that was our biggest worry.
Thanks for your support.
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[User Picture]From: sokkmonkey
2008-01-29 08:07 pm (UTC)
The best thing you can do right now is see if you can bring him a Koran.
They eat that shit up. If they see you giving him something to read and he eschews secular books for scripture, it may be your ace in the hole.

I used to deal with this all the time.
Magazines getting shredded, chess pieces (representing kings) getting nabbed.
Even had a walkman smashed for being a military communication device...

Did I mention that they HATE Asians?

Let me know what I can do to help.

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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they're total raging racists there, and I fear not enough people are aware of this when they book a flight.
That's a very interesting and useful perspective, and thanks for that. I'll run it by Scotty and see what he has to say.
Diz says he's being treated well, which goes a long way to redeem them in my eyes. That was my primary worry, as I've read some horrific accounts by foreigners in custody there.
I'll be sure to give everyone the green light if this gets more serious, and thanks for your support.
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[User Picture]From: venacava
2008-01-29 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'm just reeling from all this bullshit, dawgg.

My best to Diz - he's in mine and Daniel's thoughts. Anything I can do - just say the word.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dude, I'll definitely pass on your love to him.
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[User Picture]From: davidsl
2008-01-29 08:11 pm (UTC)
I wish I could say that this story surprised me. It's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know any of you, or the person involved, but I heard this through Warren Ellis' bulletin on myspace and couldn't ignore it. Unfortunately it's gonna be one in, one out until someone actually decides to do something about people like this in power. Who does, though, right?

You have my full support and I hope this all works out for the best.
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[User Picture]From: _yungfuktoi_
2008-01-29 08:22 pm (UTC)
We're working on a website, which for now is designed as a tool for those who wish to visit or live there. We want to offer realistic advice and resources for those in need.
If they decide to press charges we'll wage a full-on campaign for his release, but we're abstaining until we have more news.
Ultimately, they need to change their policies to mime that of the developed world if they have the audacity to advertise themselves as a tourist destination. Right now what we can do is get the message across to potential tourists that this may not be their best option for a safe holiday, at least until Dubai updates it's strategy for dealing with visitors.
Thanks for your support, it means a lot to us.
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