A British man faces two years of jail in Dubai after he was arrested for smoking marijuana before he arrived in the UAE.
Connor Clements, 24, traveled from Liverpool to Dubai earlier this year when he got a job as a waiter in the Emirate. However, when he took a routine drug test required for this employment contract, he tested positive for cannabis, according to British media.
Dubai authorities moved quickly to arrest him and put him in prison. Clements has been released on bail, but he claims he was sleeping on a prison cell floor with 25 other detainees while he spent a few weeks in jail.
“I was in a rut. My sister lives here and I had an opportunity to change my life and it's been nothing but a living nightmare," Clements told the Liverpool Echo, emphasizing he had not committed a crime in the UAE.
"They are saying I smoked it here - but I did [it] back home, they have got no proof... I used to smoke a lot back home. I came here to stop everything," he said.
"I was coming over here to totally change my life around. I had a new job and met loads of nice people."
During a very brief court appearance, Clements was handed down a two-year sentence. He claims he wasn't given adequate time to explain his situation and that the court appearance lasted less than one minute.
Now, out on bail, Clements is awaiting an appeal hearing. His passport has also been confiscated.
The UK's Foreign Office said it is assisting Clements with the case.
"Our staff in the UAE are assisting a British man following his detention in Dubai. We have visited him on several occasions, made calls to the prosecutor's office to get updates on his case, and are in regular contact with his family," a spokesperson said, according to The Independent.
Clements' appeal will take place a few days before Christmas on Dec. 25, according to media reports. He reached out to British media in hopes of raising awareness about his case.
"I don't want to go back in prison," he said.
The UAE has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs, according to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
However, while the UK may be seen as more lenient when it comes to marijuana use, possession can technically still land someone in prison for up to five years. Unlimited fines can also be placed on individuals caught with cannabis.