A British tourist has been jailed for four years in Dubai after police found a tiny speck of cannabis on the sole of his shoe.
Keith Brown, 25, a youth development worker from Smethwick, West Midlands was returning to Britain from Ethiopia last September when he was detained by customs officials while on a stop off in Dubai. A customs search uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g – so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar – on the tread of one of his shoes.
He was found guilty on Christmas day and sentenced to four years in prison last month. Browne, a committed Rastafarian, had been travelling with his partner Imani from a conference in Ethiopia, where he also has a son and a property. Under United Arab Emirates law, judges can decide to grant clemency after the imprisonment of over six months. Brown’s case is due to be heard next month.
His brother Lee said: “Keith was jailed at Christmas and is trapped in a nightmare.”
The United Arab Emirate operate a strict zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol related and some prescription and over-the-counter drugs are considered to be illegal.
Last week, Catherine Wolthuizen, the chief executive of Fair Trials International, warned that there had been a steep increase in drug-related detainments in the past 18 months as customs officers now use highly sensitive equipment. More than 20 Brits are currently serving time for similar offences in the region.