An American businessman is facing the threat of a lengthy jail sentence in Dubai because he smoked a joint of Marijuana days before he even arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If found guilty, Peter Clark, 51, of Las Vagas, Nevada could face four years in prison after mere traces of the drug were found in a urine sample.
Clark says he smoked marijuana around three days before leaving his native Las Vegas for a business trip to the Persian Gulf. Cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Nevada in 2017 but Clark says he was aware of Dubai’s strict drugs laws and didn’t bring any drugs with him to the emirate.
The ex computer games designer had jetted off to Dubai to scout out recording studio locations for a new business venture but within hours of being in the city, Peter was taken seriously ill with pancreatitis. After being rushed to the hospital, medical staff took a urine sample that revealed the presence of marijuana.
In Dubai, medical staff must pass on the details of positive drug test results to the authorities. Just tiny traces of marijuana in someone’s body can count as ‘possession’ under Dubai’s strict drug laws and could attract a maximum sentence of four years behind bars.
“While blood tests only return results for very recent consumption, urine tests can detect usage for up to 46 days,” warns British human rights charity Detained in Dubai.
“There is no legal defence to undisputed evidence of drugs consumption and many a foreigner has unexpectedly been convicted for consuming a prohibited drug outside of the UAE,” the charity, which is now helping Peter, explained.
Soon after the results of the test came back, police allegedly arrived at the hospital and shackled Peter to his bed. After receiving medical treatment, Peter was transferred to the notorious Al Barsha detention center where he was held for several days.
The arrest took place in February but Peter remains in Dubai while the Public Prosecution decide whether to proceed with the case. Peter’s passport has been taken off him and he is on a ‘no fly list’ according to the Daily Mail.
“This has just turned into a complete nightmare. I never thought by going to the hospital I would end up being thrown in jail,” Peter told the newspaper. “I have not done anything wrong.”
In December, Detained in Dubai warned of an “out of control” crackdown on what the authorities believed was a drug problem in the emirate. While the US Embassy has been informed of Peter’s arrest, the charity has called on the State Department to intervene in order to get hime home.
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.