Authorized dispute dealing with Texan ‘Sassy Trucker’ in Dubai reveals the boundaries of speech in UAE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Houston lady identified on-line because the “Sassy Trucker” has been caught in Dubai for months after an altercation at a automobile rental company, the most recent case displaying the boundaries of speech on this skyscraper-studded city-state.

The case towards Tierra Younger Allen, 29, comes because the seven sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates have guidelines that strictly govern speech far past what’s widespread in Western nations. A center finger raised in a visitors dispute, a textual content message calling somebody a reputation or swearing in public simply can spark legal instances — one thing that international vacationers who flock right here could not understand till it’s too late.

Allen traveled to Dubai in April, together with her social media accounts with tens of hundreds of followers displaying movies of her test-driving a Mercedes semitruck, going to the seaside, seeing vacationer points of interest and partying in nightclubs.

However towards the top of Allen’s journey, a rental automobile pushed by a pal she was with was concerned in a crash April 28, stated Radha Stirling, who runs a for-hire advocacy group lengthy essential of the UAE known as Detained in Dubai. After the crash, Allen tried to retrieve private objects nonetheless within the automobile from the rental company, sparking an altercation, Stirling stated.

The circumstances of the altercation on the unidentified automobile rental company stay unclear. Stirling has described Allen as dealing with attainable expenses for “shouting” at an worker of the rental automobile company, with out elaborating on what Allen particularly stated on the time. Stirling accused the automobile rental company worker of “elevating his voice at her and following her out of the store” in the course of the incident.

Allen “was ‘scared’ and intimidated by his aggression,” Stirling stated.

Allen didn’t reply to requests for remark from The Related Press, which Stirling attributed to “the danger of further expenses from the UAE authorities” if she spoke publicly.

In an announcement, Dubai police disputed Stirling’s description of the altercation.

The “Dubai police acquired a grievance from a automobile rental workplace, accusing her of slandering and defaming an worker amidst a dispute over automobile rental charges,” police stated of their assertion. “The person was questioned as per authorized procedures and subsequently launched pending the decision of ongoing authorized proceedings between her and the automobile rental workplace.”

Usually, police place journey bans on these concerned in such instances till a decision is reached. Police take statements from each events, then decide whether or not they need to be forwarded onto prosecutors. Instances are resolved by the complainant dropping the case, the 2 events agreeing to a settlement or going to court docket. The police maintain Allen’s passport, Stirling stated.

Responding to a question by the AP, the U.S. State Division acknowledged it was “conscious {that a} U.S. citizen, Tierra Younger Allen, is unable to depart Dubai.” Nonetheless, it didn’t elaborate on the circumstances of Allen’s case.

“We take critically our dedication to help U.S. residents overseas and are offering all acceptable help,” the State Division stated. “The Division stays in common communication together with her and her household. We’ll proceed to watch her case carefully.”

The State Division individually warns vacationers coming to the UAE that “people could also be arrested, fined, and/or deported for … making impolite gestures, swearing … and making derogatory statements concerning the UAE, the royal households, the native governments or different individuals.”

Beneath Emirati legislation, publicly insulting one other individual can carry a sentence of as much as one yr in jail and a tremendous of $5,450. Disputes over rental automobile company charges have seen different international vacationers caught within the city-state prior to now as effectively.


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