Dubai Ruler Frees British Tourist Who Brushed Against A Man In A Bar

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A Scottish man who had been sentenced to three years in a Dubai prison has been freed.

You may recall that earlier this month, 27-year old electrician Jamie Harron was accused of touching a man's hip as he walked through a bar in Dubai.

As punishment for the crime, Harron was arrested and charged with public indecency. 

In response, his case reportedly sparked a boycott against the United Arab Emirates city.

Harron was sentenced on Sunday. But today, a legal campaign group has announced that Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has ordered him to be freed.

The case has drawn renewed attention to the differences in law and standards between Dubai and many Western countries — and Detained in Dubai has criticized both the emirate's laws and the U.K. government's warnings about them, saying that Harron is only the most recent traveler to suffer from Dubai's legal system.

Up until the last minute, it seems, Harron had doubts about the order that should allow him to leave Dubai. He had endured an earlier reversal after a seeming breakthrough, when his accuser reportedly wanted to drop his complaint but Dubai prosecutors kept the case alive.

"When Jamie was called this morning by the police he was told that the case had been dismissed, and that he should come in to collect his passport", Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said in a news release.

"He was understandably nervous; as similar calls from the police in other cases were merely tactics to lure individuals into police custody," Stirling says. "But when Jamie arrived at the police station, his passport was returned, and he was told that he was free to go. The charges were dropped, the sentence annulled, and he faces no order for deportation."

Stirling said the outcome proved that the allegations against Harron were unwarranted. And while she praised Sheikh Mohammed's action, she added, "a fully functional legal system would not require outside intervention."