Thrown in prison for having a glass of wine

Terrified mum tells about ordeal

August 10 2018

A British mother and her young child were locked up in a Dubai jail for three days – all because she’d had a glass of wine on a plane flight.

On her arrival in Dubai International Airport, Ellie Holman, 44, was asked if she had consumed alcohol on the eight-hour flight.

She was than arrested and forced to spend three days in jail with her young daughter.

“My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor,” the shocked mum told the Daily Mail.

“I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell.”

The mum-of-three, who works as a dentist, says she was held in an airport detention centre and was not allowed to even call her husband.

“My passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year,” she said.

“So far this situation has cost me around £30,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work. My practice is closed. All our savings have gone.”

Dr Ellie Holman before her ordeal at Dubai International Airport

Dr Ellie Holman before her ordeal at Dubai International Airport

On arrival in Dubai an immigration official told her that her visa was invalid. She was then told she had to buy a ticket and return to London immediately.

Mrs Holman begged the official to allow her to apply for a visa and stay, especially as her daughter was exhausted from the flight.

At that point, the official quizzed her on her alcohol consumption. Despite the fact she’d only had a glass of wine, which had been served to her by airline staff, she was told possession of alcohol – even if consumed – was a crime in UAE.

Dr Holman then started filming him on her mobile phone so that she had some evidence of their conversation.

She and her daughter were then taken by airport police to a holding cell.

After three days, Mrs Holman’s husband was allowed to take their daughter Bibi back to the UK. Mrs Holman has to remain in Dubai on bail until the case is settled.

“Ellie is a sensible, professional person and excellent mother who would never knowingly break the law,” her husband said.

“Why do Emirates Airlines serve alcohol for a passenger to drink and then pass through the airport.

“This has been devastating for the whole family.”