Skip to main content

Woman detained in Dubai over having a free glass of wine

A WOMAN detained in Dubai for having a free glass of wine on her flight from London faces being held for up to a year.

Ellie Holman, a Swedish-born dentist who lives in Kent with her husband and three children, was detained last month for three days with her four-year-old daughter before being released on bail.

She could be detained again while awaiting a court hearing and officials have confiscated her passport.

The pair were initially denied food, water and toilet access, according to rights group Detained in Dubai.

After landing, Ms Holman was questioned by an immigration official, who said her visa was invalid and she must return to London. She said he was “dismissive and rude” when she asked if she could buy another visa.

Ms Holman says the guards tried to rip out her hair extensions and described the prison as hot and foul-smelling. She said they were made to sleep on a filthy mattress and she was told to clean toilets and floors.

“My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor. I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell,” she said.

Ms Holman said her partner Gary flew in to the country looking for them, and friends had tried to visit them but were denied.

Chief executive of Detained in Dubai Radha Stirling said: “The United Arab Emirates maintains a deliberately misleading facade that alcohol consumption is perfectly legal for visitors.”

Ms Stirling called on the Foreign Office and the British government generally to do more to protect British nationals, and claimed airlines needed to be held accountable.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 5,527
We need:£ 12,473
20 Days remaining
Donate today