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Dubai: Brit jailed for two years in Dubai as cannabis found in blood sample after he admits smoking drug in UK
Sunday 10 Dec 2017
A Brit accused of smoking cannabis in Dubai faces two years in a 'horrific' prison where he has slept on the floor in a room packed with 24 other inmates who don't speak English.
Connor Clements landed a job as a waiter in the Middle Eastern city but was detained after a medical test revealed cannabis in his system.
The 24-year-old insists he is innocent, saying he smoked the drug in the UK before travelling to the United Arab Emirates in a bid to turn his life around.
There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences in the country, where the presence of drugs in the blood stream is counted as possession.
Mr Clements was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail after a court appearance that he claimed lasted less than a minute, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The young man is one of over 200 Brits who have ran into trouble with the law in the United Arab Emirates this year.
Mr Clements, from Everton, Liverpool, joined his sister in Dubai earlier this year after becoming "stuck in a rut" in the UK.
He said his life has become "a living nightmare" after his employers sent him for a medical after he began his new job.
Tests led to the discovery of cannabis in his system.
Mr Clements said: "They are saying I smoked it here - but I did [it] back home, they have got no proof... I used to smoke a lot back home. I came here to stop everything. It was a chance for me to change my life. But it’s been nothing but a nightmare.
Severe penalties for drugs offences in UAE
The United Arab Emirates has a zero-tolerance approach for drugs-related offences, with severe penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possessing even residual amounts, the Foreign Office says.
Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can lead to a minimum four-year jail sentence.
The Emirati authorities count the presence of drugs in the blood stream as possession.
Some herbal highs, like Spice, are illegal in the UAE, the FCO added.
It warned: "Many people stop off in UAE airports on their way to other destinations. UAE airports have excellent technology and security, so transiting passengers carrying even residual amounts of drugs may be arrested."
“I was in a rut. My sister lives here and I had an opportunity to change my life and it’s been nothing but a living nightmare... I haven’t committed a crime in the UAE. I was coming over here to totally change my life around. I had a new job and met loads of nice people."
Mr Clements said he tried to explain what had happened but was unable to do so in court. After several weeks in prison, he has been bailed ahead of an appeal hearing just days before Christmas.
His passport has been taken from him and now he fears spending the next two Christmases in jail.
He said: "The prison is atrocious. I didn't even go outside once.
"It was a living nightmare. They put me in a room with 25 people, I was sleeping on the floor. I didn't know what to do. I can't speak Arabic. No-one spoke English. It was outrageous. I don't want to go back in prison."
Mr Clements spoke ahead of his appeal hearing in the hope of raising awareness of his plight, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of.
A Foreign Office spokesperson: "Our staff in the UAE are assisting a British man following his detention in Dubai. We have visited him on several occasions, made calls to the prosecutor's office to get updates on his case, and are in regular contact with his family."
More than 200 UK citizens have been detained in the UAE in 2017 alone.
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