A British expat is reportedly facing jail in Dubai after witnessing a fight between her friends and a stranger.
Asa Hutchinson was with a group of men who attempted to take selfies with a drunk Swedish man who was asleep on a sofa in a hotel lobby, according to Detained in Dubai, who then woke up and attacked them as they tried to flee.
The 21-year-old, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, but is originally from Chelmsford, Essex, has been charged with assault and theft, despite playing no active role in the 2016 incident, the campaign group said.
Ms Hutchinson had been leaving brunch with the group when the altercation occurred.
“The man woke up and began punching the boys,” she told the campaign group.
“I heard the commotion and came back to see what was going on.”
The Swedish man alerted the police and the entire group was arrested and taken to Bur Dubai police station.
According to Detained in Dubai, the Swedish man discovered Miss Hutchinson was a UAE resident and transferred charges to her.
The rest of the group managed to get their passports back and returned to the UK.
Ms Hutchinson told the organisation: “It is so unfair, I was not involved.
“I just happened to be there, but the police are not interested in anything I have to say.
“Once the man made his complaint it was taken as fact. I can’t go to jail, I couldn’t cope.”
Ms Hutchinson, an account manager for a global transportation company, is being represented by Detained in Dubai, which has helped in legal battles involving other British nationals.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: “In Dubai, if two parties are in dispute or arguing, the first person to speak to the police is usually the one who is believed.
“Often it is a race to get to the police first. By making this complaint, the man may have been safeguarding himself from being charged himself.”
She said it was clear Ms Hutchinson was a bystander and was “being victimised because the alleged culprits have left the country”.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “Our staff in Dubai assisted a British woman following an incident in 2016, and are ready to provide further help if requested.”
In October, Briton Jamie Harron returned home after he was charged with drinking alcohol and accused of putting his hand on another man’s hip to avoid spilling a drink in a crowded bar.
The 27-year-old electrician was sentenced to three months in jail, having been arrested in July, but an intervention from the UAE’s ruler saw him released.
In November 2016, a British tourist arrested for having extramarital sex after she claimed she was raped by two men in Dubai had the case against her dropped after investigators decided the act was consensual.