U.S. College Student Jailed In Dubai

(LibertySociety.com) – An American citizen was sentenced to one year in prison in the United Arab Emirates on Oct. 2 for an incident that happened at a Dubai airport in July. Elizabeth Los Santos was returning from a trip to Istanbul with a friend. The pair was originally scheduled to stop in Paris, France, but switched to a layover in Dubai. Los Santos said that she and her friend were under the impression that it was “a more modern and futuristic city,” but admitted that they were “completely wrong.” While making her way through security, airport staff members asked Los Santos to remove a post-surgical waist compressor.

Los Santos was taken to a booth where female employees helped her remove the compressor, but they refused to help her put it back on. She decided to shout to her friend for help with donning the garment, claiming that she gently guided a security guard who was blocking her way out of the booth. The security guard filed a complaint against Los Santos, resulting in her being detained for several hours. She was finally able to leave after agreeing to sign a document she was unable to read because it was written in Arabic. Upon her return to the airport later that day, Los Santos found out that a travel ban had been placed against her and she could not leave the country.

Los Santos spent weeks paying for hotel rooms in Dubai but was finally allowed to leave after a judge ordered her to pay a fine. However, prosecutors sought an appeal and won, resulting in a one-year prison sentence. The founder of Detained in Dubai, Radha Stirling, advocated for Los Santos. Stirling said that the airport staff treated Los Santos poorly and her detention in the city cost thousands of dollars in expenses and attorney fees. Stirling said that Los Santos missed out on her studies while being detained and has also suffered mentally and physically. Officials from the United States Department of State acknowledged that it was aware of Los Santos’s detention in Dubai. Another American was detained in Dubai back in May for three months after arguing with an employee at a rental car company.

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