Connor Clements, a young British man who was arrested in the UAE for traces of medical marijuana that were left in his system after legally taking it in the UK, has been dealt another blow.
Connor has a medical form from John Lycett Green, the founder of Medical Marijuana UK explaining that Connor was legally taking Sativex spray and CBD Oil for anxiety. Mr Green advised Connor to get a stamp from the British Embassy on the form, but so far the embassy has not responded to the request. This is in sharp contrast to the US Embassy which pulled out all the stops to help repatriate debt hostage David Oliver.
The young Brit, who had moved to Dubai to save money for his future has already been sentenced to 2 years in Al Awir jail. Emirati prisons are notorious for violence and primitive conditions, and so dangerous that Western countries consistently deny extradition requests to the UAE, citing the unacceptable risk of human rights abuses and torture.
His lawyer is appealing the sentence, and the judge has set the hearing date for February. Connor and his family passed the holiday season under an ominous cloud of uncertainty about his future.
“It’s terrifying,” Connor tells us. “The reason I took the Sativex spray in England was for anxiety. I made sure I’d stopped using it before I flew here, knowing I would have to deal with stress on my own. But now the stress is a million times worse. I’m away from my parents and family support network. And I couldn’t relax and enjoy the holidays with this horror hanging over me.”
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai the NGO representing Connor released the following advisory, “Brits and other Westerners should think very carefully before visiting Dubai for work or holidays. Even with the best intentions of observing local laws, it is far too easy to find oneself inadvertently in breach, and the punishments for such mistakes can often be devastating.
“In Connor’s case he believed he was obeying each country’s laws to the letter, and yet the remaining traces of THC in his bloodstream were enough for him to be charged with possession. Obviously this definition of ‘possession’ would never occur to someone in the West. Indeed, it can be quite confusing when, for instance, it is illegal to buy alcohol in the UAE without a license, but one can consume alcohol on a flight to the UAE, and not be criminally charged upon arrival for ‘possession’ of alcohol without a license on the basis of having alcohol in one’s system. Travellers are understandably perplexed, and therefore at risk.”