A 23-year-old Emirates flight attendant has just been released from a Dubai jail after spending two months behind bars following her arrest on suspicion of possession with intent to supply two cannabis joints. Derrin Crawford from Liverpool, England has been held in the notorious Al Barsha pre-trial detention centre in Dubai since early June when police raided the apartment of an acquaintance she had only just met.
Lawyers representing Crawford claim she had no idea there were any drugs in the apartment and say the young flight attendant was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Despite testing negative for illegal substances in several drug tests, Crawford remained locked up as the investigation continued.
Human Rights Watch recently blasted the Dubai authorities over its treatment of detainees at the Al Barsha jail, claiming prisoners are denied adequate health care and have to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. HRW raised alarm over possible COVID-19 outbreaks in the UAE’s prison’s, including the detention centre where Crawford was held.
Yesterday, Crawford’s sister said the family were becoming increasingly concerned about Derrin’s health and welfare inside the prison. Pre-existing medical conditions have deteriorated since being held, amidst reports that some prisoners were being forced to sleep on the floor.
Crawford, who landed her dream job as a flight attendant with Emirates Airline in 2018, was arrested in late June after going on a date with a fellow Brit who she had only met online around a week earlier. Crawford went back to his apartment and it was during this time that police carried out a surprise raid.
Two cannabis joints, along with other unlicensed medication, was found in the apartment and both were arrested on suspicion of possessing the drugs with intent to supply – a charge that, if proven, carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Crawford had to undergo a drugs test which came back negative but remained locked up despite her lawyers protesting her innocence. It’s not yet known whether the charges facing Crawford have now been dropped and whether she will be allowed to leave Dubai.
The British charity, Detained in Dubai previously warned that even if released from prison, Crawford might be forced to remain in the UAE to act as a ‘witness’ in the case.
“Our fear is that she will be forced to endure months, if not years or wrongful imprisonment,” commented Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai.
“In no jurisdiction anywhere in the world would Derrin face these charges,” Stirling continued. “She had no knowledge that the cannabis was present in the home of this man whom she only just met a week earlier”.
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.