Mother jailed in Dubai with 4-year-old for allegedly drinking glass of wine on flight is now receiving death threats
Dr. Ellie Holman had been put in a 'foul-smelling' detention center for three whole days with her four-year-old daughter after they landed in Dubai from London
The British mother who had been jailed in Dubai for allegedly drinking a glass of wine on the flight there has claimed that she has received death threats. 44-year-old dentist Ellie Holman had been put in a "foul-smelling" detention center for three whole days with her four-year-old daughter Bibi after they landed in Dubai from London in July. The mom-of-three from Sevenoaks in Kent was put under house arrest in Dubai for more than a month before she was finally allowed to fly back to her family in the UK.
Ever since she went back home, however, she said that she had received threats that have made her life "hell". Trolls online have made her family and her practice a target for their threats and one anonymous caller even said that her children would die and that there was a bomb in her garden. Some other terrifying threats that made rounds on social media include one from a user who wrote: "I hope your children die. I hope you get put in jail for life. I hope you get raped by a criminal and have an ugly child."
Holman said that she believes the campaign against her originated in Dubai. She told BBC Radio Kent that she "never expected to get all of this". She said: "I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience and my heart wasn't actually beating."
She continued: '''Is it Dr Holman?' 'Yes'. I thought it was a journalist. 'I just wanted to tell you that your children will die and there is a bomb in your garden'. I was like, 'How do these people know I have a garden?'. That was the first thing going through my head — so there is a bomb in the garden. I was so distraught. I'm just waiting for the next thing. It's been actually hell. Its unbelievable. I have people texting me asking me to take the pictures down from my social media that I have with them. People in Dubai, mostly, because they are afraid. It is a state of fear. I'm being punished all over again."
However, the authorities in Dubai have disputed Holman’s version of events. They said Holman was not jailed for drinking a glass of wine but because she was “abusive” and “illegally filmed” an immigration official on her phone.
In a statement earlier this month, Dubai’s Attorney-General Esam Issa Al Humaidan said the incident started when Holman tried to enter the city with a Swedish passport, which had expired on June 10. She then presented an Iranian passport, but was told she could only enter the United Arab Emirates with a new temporary visa that would allow her to stay for 96 hours — which meant she would have to change her flights.
“Ms 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,” the Attorney-General said.
Earlier, a Dubai Airport official had also said Holman was not turned away because she had a one-visit visa, as she claimed, because European citizens get a 30-day visa upon arrival.
“UAE law is strict on people recording others on their mobile phone without permission, which will not have helped Dr Holman’s case. She became abusive towards airport staff, which is not tolerated," the official told the Sun.
Now back in UK, Holman claims Dubai authorities are "targeting" her and her business with many posts online saying that she is a liar on Facebook groups. Many other anonymous callers have allegedly asked her if her relationship with her fiance, Gary, is over. Holman has dual Swedish and Iranian citizenship. She and her daughter had been taken into custody by Dubai officers after they landed in the city for a five-day holiday.
She had gone to the country with her Iranian passport which had an expired single-entry visa. Holman was then arrested by the immigration officials at the airport after she admitted to having one glass of wine on the flight from London.
She said that she and little Bibi had been taken to a hot prison dining room where they were forced to spend three days with other inmates. They were not provided any clothes and her main priority had been making sure her daughter was ok.
She said: "I was mostly ashamed and guilty and petrified for her. If anything happens to her how could I survive and forgive myself? She was so scared. The room was full of strange faces. I kept saying, 'You've got to sleep, darling'. I was literally sitting and guarding her throughout the night. Sleeping was not on my agenda at all. These people sleeping there, are they going to wake up and stab us?"
Holman has denied any claims by the Dubai authorities that she had been deported from the country. She said: "I was not deported. If you are deported there is a stamp on your passport. First of all, they bought us our ticket. They apologised to us. They came to the airport with roses for each of my children. I feel so let down. I never said I was above the law. I wasn't drunk. I admitted my mistake, but what it cost me — I didn't deserve that."