A 44-year-old dentist from the United Kingdom named Ellie Holman and her four-year-old daughter were arrested and treated like dirt in a Dubai airport jail for drinking a glass of wine on her flight.
During the eight-hour flight from London to Dubai, Holman had a single glass of wine with her meal. But once they landed, Holman said she was relentlessly questioned for her “expired” visa, which she said wasn’t expired, and asked if she had been drinking.
When the officer found out she had a glass of wine, he arrested her because it is illegal to possess or consume alcohol in the United Arab Emirates. But the ironic thing is that she was served the glass of wine by Emirate staff.
“I told him I had a glass of wine on the flight. It was given to me free by Emirates Airlines staff,” she said.
After her arrest, she said her daughter and herself were treated horribly, saying authorities refused to let them use the restroom and forced her daughter to relieve herself on the cell floor. They were only given food which Holman described as smelling like “rotten garbage.”
She was never offered a pillow or a change of clothes during her three-day incarceration. After being released on bail, Holman went to a friend's house in Dubai while she awaits her trial. Her husband, Gary, came to take his daughter home.
Gary described his family’s incarceration as “devastating for the whole family."
"Ellie was taking a much needed break with little Bibi, who was looking forward to the beach and playing in the sea,” he said.
“Why do Emirates Airlines serve alcohol for a passenger to drink and then pass through the airport?” he asked. “I hope this can all be over so we can all be together again and start to heal.”
Holman said she has spent $38,290 in legal fees and has had to miss a great deal of work.
"My practice is closed. All our savings have gone. My passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year," she said.