British grandfather, 75, faces jail in Dubai for asking neighbours to lower the noise at


A grandfather is facing jail in Dubai after being accused of trespass – for asking partying neighbours to lower the noise while babysitting his granddaughter.

Ian MacKeller, 75, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland travelled to the UAE during the festive period to visit his daughter who had recently moved to the country, and to help babysit her 18-month-old grandchild.

His daughter’s neighbours hosted a New Year’s Eve party and with Mr MacKeller’s daughter expected to work in the early hours of the morning, they say they asked the host to be mindful of noise.

At 1am on January 1, the family messaged the neighbour and requested they turn the music down – but it began to get louder, they claim.

Mr MacKeller went over to talk but quickly became involved in an altercation. He claims the guests pushed him around and even ‘threw a drink over the baby’.

The grandfather listened to his daughters pleas not to report the behaviour to the police – but soon found himself slapped with a formal complaint for trespass and could face criminal repercussions.

British grandfather Ian MacKeller went to visit his daughter in Dubai, who lives in the country

British grandfather Ian MacKeller went to visit his daughter in Dubai, who lives in the country

Ian MacKeller, 75, travelled to the UAE during the festive period to visit his daughter who had recently moved to the country, and to help babysit her young child. Pictured: Dubai skyline

Ian MacKeller, 75, travelled to the UAE during the festive period to visit his daughter who had recently moved to the country, and to help babysit her young child. Pictured: Dubai skyline

Mr MacKeller visited the neighbour in the early hours of January 1 to ask them to be quieter, taking his infant granddaughter with him to allow his daughter to sleep.

He knocked, but after nobody answered the door, Mr MacKeller noticed an open side path leading to the garden, where guests were mingling.

The grandfather says he asked if they could move the party indoors – but says guests began to push him and shout at him, knocking his granddaughter’s bottle to the ground.

Some guests attempted to intervene, advising Mr MacKeller to leave, but as he made his way to the street, he says the host approached him, shouting loudly and even throwing her drink over him and the baby.

Mr MacKeller described her actions as ‘unacceptable’ and said he was eager to report the incident to the police, but his daughter refused, anxious about stoking further tension with her neighbours.

Now, the party host has filed a police complaint against Mr MacKeller for trespass, which has prevented him from leaving the country – and he could face several years in prison.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, is working with Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, to set Mr MacKeller free.

‘It is standard practice in Dubai to preemptively file a police report when at risk of being reported’, said Radha.

‘The prosecution tends to side with whomever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim.

‘This is how people familiar with Dubai justice manipulate the system to their advantage.’

‘It is commonplace for foreigners in this situation to offer financial compensation to their accuser in order to drop the case,’ Radha added.

‘Authorities in Dubai need to crack down on this blatant abuse of the criminal justice system. The practice is systemic and will require significant legislative change to stamp it out completely.

‘It’s imperative that parliamentary representatives support their constituents where they face injustice. We’re seeing more and more MP’s demanding action from the FCDO and foreign ministry counterparts in countries like the UAE, Qatar and Saudi.’

Mr MacKeller is unable to leave the country since the neighbour filed a complaint against him

Mr MacKeller is unable to leave the country since the neighbour filed a complaint against him

Mr MacKeller was scheduled to return to Scotland on January 10, but now remains indefinitely in the UAE, separated from his family and unable to receive medical treatment.

‘This is a very sad situation. Nobody would ever imagine that a polite request to turn the music down would result in a travel ban and criminal prosecution,’ said Stirling.

‘Again and again, we are reminded that a simple trip to Dubai can indeed be a one-way ticket.

‘If the case isn’t dropped, Ian will likely end up in prisons notorious for human rights violations, and he simply doesn’t deserve it.’



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