NEWS
07/09/2018 10:39 BST | Updated 07/09/2018 14:17 BST

Embassy Warns Brits They Could Be Arrested For Drinking On Flights To Middle East

Dr Ellie Holman was detained after drinking a glass of wine.

Detained in Dubai
Ellie Holman with her daughter Bibi 

The British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates has warned Brits they could be arrested for drinking on flights to the Middle East. 

The announcement came after British mother-of-three Dr Ellie Holman was recently jailed for drinking a glass of wine on an Emirates flight from Gatwick.

The 44-year-old claims she was spat at and had her hair pulled while she was held in prison for three days over the incident on July 13.

The Detained In Dubai human rights group has now pledged to seek clarification on the rules from all airlines flying through the UAE. 

Writing on their Facebook page on Thursday, the Embassy warned travellers about drinking alcohol in the federation, including on inbound flights. 

Alcohol licences are required for residents, while tourists are restricted to consuming alcohol in a hotel or licensed premises.

The post reads: “If caught carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood, you can be arrested.

“It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public – including when transiting through the UAE.

“It can result in custodial sentences and/or a fine.”

The post appeared to be part of a series on the “UK in UAE” page about consular matters.

Holman, a dentist who lives in Kent with her partner Gary and their three children, was detained after drinking a glass of wine on her eight-hour Emirates Airline flight to Dubai. 

The charges were later dropped.

Radha Stirling, chief executive of human rights group Detained in Dubai, said: “In light of the FCO’s announcement, we will be contacting all airlines who transit to or through the UAE to clarify their position on serving alcohol to passengers.

“Either the UAE will need to reform their laws urgently, or the airlines will need to update their policy to ensure the safety of customers.”