A US college student was sentenced to a year in prison for allegedly “assaulting and insulting” an airport security guard in Dubai, where she had a connecting flight from Istanbul to New York for her summer vacation.
abdpost.com / USA (IGFA) – A young college student living in the Bronx, New York, who came to Istanbul on vacation in July, had an ordeal returning home.
Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos, 21, a student at Lehman College in the Bronx, bought a ticket to New York on July 14 after arriving in Istanbul on vacation, USPost reported, citing ‘Detained in Dubai’ advocates. In her first itinerary, she chose Dubai instead of a connecting flight to Paris.
While going through security after landing in Dubai, airport staff asked Los Santos to remove the waist compressor she had to wear after a recent surgery. The female staff member was directed to a special booth and removed the compressor. However, Los Santos’ mother alleged to Detained in Dubai that the staff were rude and hurt her daughter’s still-healing surgery scars, while laughing at her and refusing when she asked for help to put her clothes back on.
“I pushed him out of the way by lightly touching his arm and then I desperately started crying for help for my friend,” the young girl told Detained in Dubai, as she ducked past a security guard who blocked her path after staff continued to ignore her request for help and called out to her friend to come and help her.
Los Santos later claimed she was detained in a room for hours for complaining about the security guard she touched and was not allowed to leave until she signed a form written in Arabic.
When Los Santos later returned to the airport to catch a flight to New York, he was informed that he had been issued a travel ban and would remain in the country pending trial.
DECISION APPEALED AND SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN PRISON
After weeks in hotels, a judge ordered her to pay 10,000 UAE dinars (about $2,700), but Dubai prosecutors appealed the ruling and on Monday she was sentenced to a year in prison.
UNDER INCREDIBLE STRESS
Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai, said the treatment was outrageous and added: “He is under incredible stress that is affecting his physical and mental health, disrupting his whole life and hurting him in the long run.”
HE WAS TO STAY FOR 6 HOURS AND THEN LEAVE
“Elizabeth was only planning to transit through Dubai for six hours, but she has been there for months and lost $50,000 in expenses and lawyer fees,” Stirling added.