Ellie Holman returns home to UK after Dubai jail cell ordeal – NEWS.com.au
THE British mum who claimed she was jailed in Dubai for “having a glass of wine” on a flight has been reunited with her family while insisting the ordeal left her “exhausted”.
Dr Ellie Holman, 44, from Kent, has been pictured kissing her kids at London Gatwick Airport after she was held in a “baking and foul-smelling jail” for three days with her four-year-old daughter Bibi.
After landing back in the UK, the dentist was driven back to her family home for a private family reunion, The Sun reports.
She was seen kissing her youngest child Bibi, who was with her on July 13 when she was arrested shortly after landing in Dubai International Airport.
Dr Holman was allowed to return to the UK after an intervention by ruler Sheikh Mohammed.
The dentist was detained with her daughter after getting into a dispute with staff over her visa — then quizzed over a free drink she was given on the plane.
Before her flight home, she told the MailOnline: “I haven’t even begun to comprehend what’s happened to me.
“I’ve been running on adrenaline alone for the past month and I’m exhausted.”
Dubai’s Attorney-General has questioned Dr Holman’s story that she was stopped for having a glass of wine on the flight, saying the issue began when Dr Holman had arrived in Dubai with a Swedish passport that expired in June this year.
“She was advised by the immigration officer that she could not enter the country with an expired passport,” Issa Al Humaidan said.
“She then produced an Iranian passport, and was informed by the officer that she could enter the country by issuing a new temporary visa, which allowed a 96-hour stay, and had to change her departure flight according to the new visa.”
Al Humaidan said Dr Holman “refused angrily due to the additional payment fees the process would require, and proceeded to verbally insult the immigration officer and take photos of the officer via her phone”.
He said charges of “profanity and photographing a government official at the border crossing, a restricted area” were issued against Dr Holman.
The Attorney-General said Mrs Holman and her daughter remained together in the airport security office for less than 24 hours and “services provided to them”.
He said when the child’s father, Gary Holman, arrived in Dubai he immediately departed the country.
“The prosecution decided to drop the charges against Ellie Hollman and to deport her instead,” he said.
“I can’t believe this is over. When I got the call from the government telling me they were dropping the case I was in shock,” she said.
“I was told to prepare for a long stay in Dubai and a prison sentence. The man on the phone apologised on behalf of the immigration official who put me and Bibi through all of this.
“I feel like a weight is off my chest.”
Dr Holman was visiting Dubai with Bibi for a five-day break and it is understood she’s a regular visitor to the city where she is well-known in the Brit expat community.
She is also said to regularly fly over for weeks at a time to carry out beauty procedures such as Botox.
Getting on the wrong side of an immigration official resulted in her spending three days in a cramped detention centre without food, water and airconditioning.
Last week Dr Holman said the problem started when she stepped off the eight-hour flight on July 13 to be told her visa was only valid for one visit and she’d have to return to London immediately.
She said getting back on the long-haul flight with Bibi was “unthinkable” and she got in a tense standoff with the officer at Dubai International Airport.
Dr Holman said he then asked whether she had been drinking and she said she had a free glass of wine given to her by Emirates staff.
The official informed Dr Holman that possession of alcohol is a crime in the UAE, even if it is inside a person’s body, and she was arrested and led away to the cells.
“My daughter is a happy, smiley girl, but now she was terrified,” she said last week.
“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 the case has cost her more than $52,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work, adding: “My practice is closed. All our savings have gone.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.