A woman had to go through a terrible ordeal in Dubai for drinking a glass of wine on a flight from London. Ellie Holman was asked if she had consumed alcohol by an immigration official at Dubai International Airport. The mother-of-three was arrested thereafter and was held in a 'baking hot and foul smelling' airport detention centre. She told the officer that during the eight-hour-long flight, she was served a glass of wine with her meal.
Holman told Daily Mail, "My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor. I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell. My passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year. So far this situation has cost me around £30,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work. My practice is closed. All our savings have gone."
The 44-year-old said that the immigration officer told her that her visa was not valid. She said that she has visited UAE several times and as it had not expired, assumed that it was valid. She was then told that the visa was valid for a single visit and asked her to buy a ticket and return to London immediately. Holman said she urged the officer to let her apply for a new visa at the airport as her daughter was tired.
The official told her that possession of alcohol even if consumed was a crime in the UAE. As the officer's behaviour towards became rude she filmed the incident for evidence. She was soon surrounded by armed police who told her filming airport official was a criminal offence. The mother and daughter were then taken to a cell and their phones and passports were taken away.
She requested for food and water or to use a toilet, but was denied permission. Holman said a guard took out her earrings and tried to rip off her hair extensions. They were ordered to sleep in a canteen with other inmates.
She was told that her blood results showed 0.04% of alcohol in her blood. Holman who is a dentist said that she was even forced to clean toilets as her daughter stood by her side. All this while her husband was worried as he had not heard from them.
Holman and her daughter were finally granted bail and let go. While Bibi and her father have now been allowed to fly back to the UK while Holman is staying with friends in Dubai. The NGO 'Detained in Dubai' formed to help people held in the United Arab Emirates, said the pair was "terrified" by the experience.