Two British women have been jailed in the Gulf state Sultanate of Oman, for “trying to rescue abused animals”.
The pair were in the Middle East teaching English for the British Council, but ran afoul of a “cultural misunderstanding” with their Arab hosts when they attempted to “save two mistreated dogs” who had been left out in “scorching” heat by their “cruel” owner.
33-year-old Jennifer Green of Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, and her unnamed co-accused have been held for almost two weeks, according to her brother — “because it’s Ramadan, nothing is happening. I’m really worried and so is the entire family,” he said.
8 years ago, #LeeBradleyBrown died in @DubaiPoliceHQ custody. #UAE declined to cooperate with a UK investigation into the cause of death & would not provide CCTV footage. @RadhaStirling was phoned by 3 witnesses who said it was due to police violence. pic.twitter.com/0Ca8iV6IdH
— Detained in Dubai (@detainedindubai) April 15, 2019
“They allegedly intervened to save abused animals, which is something honourable in Britain, but is a crime in Oman,” claimed Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai — Dubai being one of seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, another country in the Middle East where Westerners are often detained in dubious circumstances.
“Abusing animals apparently is not a crime in Oman, and rescuing an animal can apparently lead to abuse by the legal system,” Stirling remarked acidly.
“I would encourage the Omani government to intervene in this case before the suffering of these young women is prolonged any further.
“This is yet another stark reminder that there are vast cultural and legal disparities between the West and the Gulf states,” he added.
— Detained in Dubai (@detainedindubai) April 8, 2019
This rather mild, anodyne reaction to the women’s imprisonment without trial contrasts sharply with Britain’s reaction to her citizens being mistreated in former days.
Hunt’s 19th-century predecessor Lord Palmerston — later one of the country’s most famous prime ministers — famously sent the Royal Navy to blockade Greece and seize all the ships in the port of Piraeus when the property of Don Pacifico, a Gibraltar-born Jew, was damaged during anti-Semitic riots in Athens, and he was not compensated by the Greek government for local law enforcement’s failure to intervene.
“[A]s the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say ‘Civis Romanus sum’ [I am a Roman citizen]; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong,” Palmerston declared in the House of Commons.
This contentious but robust policy of so-called “gunboat diplomacy” proved the be successful, with Pacifico eventually receiving a settlement of 120,000 drachmas from the chastened Greeks.
The Government’s response to Matthew Hedges getting life imprisonment is a bit stayed compared to when Lord Palmerston sent the Royal Navy to blockade Greece after a British citizen had his shop robbed pic.twitter.com/Yo8jinz2pv
— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) November 22, 2018