New civil case compounds ordeal of detained social media influencer in Dubai
Tierra Allen, a social media influencer known as "Sassy Trucker," was arrested in Dubai after an altercation with a car rental agency owner. Allen had been involved in a minor traffic accident while driving a rented vehicle, and the car was subsequently impounded. She was not allowed to retrieve her belongings from the rental vehicle, and when she attempted to retrieve her belongings from the rental agency the staff demanded money from her, an altercation ensued, leading to her arrest for "shouting," which is considered a crime in Dubai. It’s important to note that even if both parties shouted, the first to go to the police will be sided with. People in the know will anticipate being charged for their own behaviour and will rush to file before the other party does.
Allen is facing charges that could potentially result in up to two years in prison. Last week, Tierra was notified of a civil case registered against her, seeking at least $10,000 in damages including the accumulated impound fees. Detained in Dubai CEO, Radha Stirling, issued the following comments:
“Tierra was essentially charged for refusing to be extorted by the rental car company just to retrieve her personal items, and that extortion attempt has now escalated into a civil case against her. When the car agency could not coerce Tierra to acquiesce, they threatened her with the police, and followed through on that threat. It is common practice in the UAE for locals and permanent residents to register criminal cases against Westerners with the intention of dropping the case in exchange for money; because of course, no tourist wants to go to jail or be subjected to a travel ban that leaves them stranded in a foreign country indefinitely. Tierra, however, stood her ground, and has done so for 3 months, despite facing imprisonment, and despite being trapped in the UAE without an income, without support, and without recourse to justice. Having become apparent that she was not going to succumb, it appears that the new strategy to extract money from Tierra is to pursue her in a civil case. While the amount named in the suit is $10,000, obviously, this will increase over time, and if the case is decided against her, and she is unable to pay, she will again be facing imprisonment.
“This case gets more outrageous by the day, and Dubai’s reputation sinks lower with every moment that passes without Tierra’s release. The criminal case is patently unjustified, and the civil case is a blatant money grab. UAE officials should understand that the way Tierra’s situation has developed, and the way the authorities have dealt with her, is giving the very strong impression of complicity by law enforcement with her accuser. This is also not unheard of in the UAE. We have encountered numerous cases in which the police work in conjunction with locals and residents to facilitate a variety of extortion scams, all of which involve the coercive threat of criminal proceedings against tourists. Typically, a case like Tierra’s would have been resolved months ago through mediation, but the fact that the case has not only not been resolved, but now has been compounded with a civil case; it suggests collusion between the police and the rental car company to extort money from someone they deem as a financially successful celebrity; an ideal target for such scams.
“The American media is watching, the American government is watching, and Tierra’s ordeal has reached straight across the Internet. Dubai officials have to evaluate whether the reputations of potentially unethical members of law enforcement are important enough to damage the reputation of the emirate itself; because the damage is certainly being done, and the little money a few corrupt individuals are trying to gain by their abuse of the legal system, may end up costing Dubai exponentially more in terms of tourists who are going to choose safer destinations for their next holiday.”
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Detained in Doha: https://www.detainedindoha.org
Radha Stirling: http://www.radhastirling.com
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