A 23-year-old Emirates flight attendant has been arrested by police in Dubai for possession with intent to supply illegal narcotics and has since been charged with possession of Cannabis, pills and “other items” which are all classed as illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Derrin Crawford, a British expat flight attendant says she was on a date with a new acquaintance when his home was raided by police and had no idea there were drugs in his apartment.
According to Detained in Dubai, a London-based charity that helps fight the cases of expats charged with crimes in the UAE, Derrin was in the wrong place, at the wrong and had no knowledge that her date had drugs in his apartment. Derrin was subjected to a drug-tested shortly after being arrested which was negative but remained in custody for several days.
Radha Stirling, founder and chief executive of Detained in Dubai says possession of Cannabis could result in a hefty prison sentence. The charity claims to have helped numerous Brits and other foreigners who have fallen foul of Dubai’s “draconian laws and chaotic enforcement procedures”.
“Ms Crawford’s arrest in Dubai is another appalling example of how arbitrarily UAE laws are enforced, and how easily a foreigner can be accused, arrested and even convicted for being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Stirling said of the arrest.
“Innocent British nationals continue to be arrested over the suspicion of possession or distribution of drugs, often on the flimsiest basis,” she continued.
In a statement posted by Dubai’s official media office, a spokesperson for the Dubai Police Force confirmed that two British nationals had been arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply narcotics but have since only been charged with possession of illegal substances.
The case has been referred to the Public Prosecution Service who will make a final decision on whether to proceed with the case and both Derrin and her date have now been released on bail. “The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy for the recreational use of drugs,” the police spokesperson said.
Personal possession of illegal drugs can result in a prison sentence of up to 10-years, while drug trafficking is punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment according to the force.
“Derrin visited an apartment and was arrested and detained for something she had no control over. She has now had to endure several days in a Dubai police station, where conditions are appalling and dangerous,” Stirling said of the Emirates flight attendant’s plight.
“Human rights violations are so thoroughly documented in the UAE that the UK refuses any extradition requests from the country. We are concerned about Derrin’s safety, and about the very real possibility that she will be criminally charged, as so many others have been, without evidence.”
Stirling accused the Dubai Police Force of bypassing investigation “in favour of forced confession”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.