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Brit woman faces Christmas in Dubai jail for selfie



  • Asa Hutchinson, 21, is facing jail in Dubai following row with a Swedish executive
  • She is facing charges of assault and theft after a fight allegedly broke out with the man, 54 
  • Ms Hutchinson was with group of Britons who took selfies of the man as he slept
  • Her passport was confiscated by Dubai police and has not been able to return to the UK for 18 months
  • Now she is 'worried sick' that she could face Christmas behind bars, after she was ordered to attend a new police-up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 

By Nick Fagge In Dubai For Mailonline

Published: 02:39 EST, 7 December 2017 | Updated: 05:44 EST, 7 December 2017

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A British woman facing jail in Dubai for taking a selfie of a sleeping businessman faces fresh anguish today as she has been ordered to take part in a police line-up.

Asa Hutchinson, 21, fears she will spend Christmas locked up in a Middle Eastern jail despite no evidence that she took part in an alleged fight with the Swedish tech executive.

She was accused by the 54-year-old Swede of being part of a group of Britons who he says humiliated him by taking selfie photos while he slept in the lobby of an office building and stole his glasses.

Her passport was confiscated by Dubai police and she has not been able to leave the country for the past 18 months.

Now she is 'worried sick' that she could face Christmas behind bars, after she was ordered to attend a new police-up in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) city today. 

British ex-pat Asa Hutchinson, 21, pictured yesterday at Dubai Marina, could face Christmas in jail over a row involving a Swedish tech executive who accused them of taking selfies of him 
British ex-pat Asa Hutchinson, 21, pictured yesterday at Dubai Marina, could face Christmas in jail over a row involving a Swedish tech executive who accused them of taking selfies of him 

British ex-pat Asa Hutchinson, 21, pictured yesterday at Dubai Marina, could face Christmas in jail over a row involving a Swedish tech executive who accused them of taking selfies of him 

Ms Hutchinson (pictured) has been ordered to attend a police station in Dubai later today
Ms Hutchinson (pictured) has been ordered to attend a police station in Dubai later today

Ms Hutchinson (pictured) has been ordered to attend a police station in Dubai later today

Asa's lawyer Radha Stirling has revealed her fears and longing to be back with her family in Brentwood, Essex, over the festive period. 

'She is worried sick about having to attend the police station tomorrow for yet another police line-up,' Ms Stirling told MailOnline.

'She is scared of the real possibility of ending up in a Middle Eastern jail.

'She is shocked that has had to go through this, having done absolutely nothing wrong.

'She feels it has ruined her life and all [those] involved will take a long time to recover from the charges bestowed upon them by a judicial system that punishes bystanders.'  

Asa has previous told of her fears of being sentenced to jail if convicted of assault and theft charges - and appealed to the Swedish executive to drop the charges.

She said: 'Going to prison would be awful. I just couldn't bear it.'

Asa was arrested after a fight broke out between the businessman and some of her friends in the lobby of the Al Fattan building, Dubai, last May.

Ms Hutchinson was arrested after a fight broke out between the businessman and some of her friends in the lobby of the Al Fattan building, Dubai, last May
Ms Hutchinson was arrested after a fight broke out between the businessman and some of her friends in the lobby of the Al Fattan building, Dubai, last May

Ms Hutchinson was arrested after a fight broke out between the businessman and some of her friends in the lobby of the Al Fattan building, Dubai, last May

The man was asleep when Ms Hutchinson's friends apparently took selfies next to him. The man was angry when he woke up and was involved in a fight. Ms Hutchinson (pictured yesterday) said she was a bystander during the disagreement and was not directly involved 
The man was asleep when Ms Hutchinson's friends apparently took selfies next to him. The man was angry when he woke up and was involved in a fight. Ms Hutchinson (pictured yesterday) said she was a bystander during the disagreement and was not directly involved 

The man was asleep when Ms Hutchinson's friends apparently took selfies next to him. The man was angry when he woke up and was involved in a fight. Ms Hutchinson (pictured yesterday) said she was a bystander during the disagreement and was not directly involved 

Ms Hutchinson, 21, from Brentwood, Essex, right, with her ex-boyfriend, Ben Hall, left, in Dubai, in November 2015. All of the other members of the group have managed to leave Dubai
Ms Hutchinson, 21, from Brentwood, Essex, right, with her ex-boyfriend, Ben Hall, left, in Dubai, in November 2015. All of the other members of the group have managed to leave Dubai

Ms Hutchinson, 21, from Brentwood, Essex, right, with her ex-boyfriend, Ben Hall, left, in Dubai, in November 2015. All of the other members of the group have managed to leave Dubai

The Swedish man then decided to transfer the charges to Ms Hutchinson, left, after discovering that she was still living in the UAE
The Swedish man then decided to transfer the charges to Ms Hutchinson, left, after discovering that she was still living in the UAE

The Swedish man then decided to transfer the charges to Ms Hutchinson, left, after discovering that she was still living in the UAE

Ms Hutchinson, right, claims that she was nothing more than a bystander to the fight that erupted when the man woke up
Ms Hutchinson, right, claims that she was nothing more than a bystander to the fight that erupted when the man woke up

Ms Hutchinson, right, claims that she was nothing more than a bystander to the fight that erupted when the man woke up

The man was asleep when her friends apparently took selfies next to him.

She claims that she was nothing more than a bystander to the fight that erupted when the man woke up.

She is accused of theft because she put his glasses into the bin, which she claims was for safe-keeping.

She said: 'The man woke up and began punching the boys. I heard the commotion and came back to see what was going on.

'He [the Swede] called the police and made official complaints about the boys for taking pictures of him and for being rude.'

Since the incident, Dubai police questioned Asa's former boyfriend Ben Hall and others in the group.

Her friends managed to get their passports back by paying cash deposits and have since returned to the UK.

The Swedish man then decided to transfer the charges to Asa after discovering that she was living in the UAE.

The young Briton appealed to him to drop the charges but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Her plight is one a growing list of dubious cases which have brought the UAE legal system into the spotlight.

Ms Stirling, who runs pressure group Detained in Dubai, told MailOnline: 'The UAE judicial system has been spotlighted after a series of high profile arrests of British nationals.

The incident is alleged to have taken place outside Dusty's Bar and Restaurant, pictured
The incident is alleged to have taken place outside Dusty's Bar and Restaurant, pictured

The incident is alleged to have taken place outside Dusty's Bar and Restaurant, pictured

Ms Hutchinson earlier lost her job after the incident and authorities seized her passport: Pictured: Inside Dusty's Bar where Asa and her friends spent the evening before alleged fight
Ms Hutchinson earlier lost her job after the incident and authorities seized her passport: Pictured: Inside Dusty's Bar where Asa and her friends spent the evening before alleged fight

Ms Hutchinson earlier lost her job after the incident and authorities seized her passport: Pictured: Inside Dusty's Bar where Asa and her friends spent the evening before alleged fight

Ms Hutchinson's legal team claimed opening the case against her client was 'morally wrong'. Pictured: Asa (right) with her former boyfriend Ben Hall and his mother, Samantha 
Ms Hutchinson's legal team claimed opening the case against her client was 'morally wrong'. Pictured: Asa (right) with her former boyfriend Ben Hall and his mother, Samantha 

Ms Hutchinson's legal team claimed opening the case against her client was 'morally wrong'. Pictured: Asa (right) with her former boyfriend Ben Hall and his mother, Samantha 

'Asa [Hutchinson] is another example of how under-developed the UAE judicial system remains.

'Recently, we have been involved in resolving several cases including a British national who was detained for in excess of 12 months without charge.

'We have seen Scott Richards arrested for sharing a charity page, Jamie Harron for being falsely accused of indecent behaviour after brushing past a man in a bar and Billy Barclay for exchanging a counterfeit £20 note.

Asa's mother Lucie Harrison is pictured outside the family home in Brentwood, Essex
Asa's mother Lucie Harrison is pictured outside the family home in Brentwood, Essex

Asa's mother Lucie Harrison is pictured outside the family home in Brentwood, Essex

'What is common in these cases is the fact that no evidence has been required to secure their detentions and prosecution.

'The consequences of the arrests are severe.

'They were forced to remain in the UAE, without the ability to work while at the same time, paying extortionate legal fees since the country does not provide legal aid.

'They were all later released but suffered greatly and were not compensated.

'Asa's situation is similar in that she has been accused of assault for simply being in the company of friends and witnessing a dispute between them and the complainant.

'Her passport has been confiscated and is therefore unable to continue working in the country.

'She tried to plea with the complainant to drop the charges against her but was stonewalled.

'If the [Swedish] man cannot recognise that opening a police case against a 21-year-old bystander is morally wrong, she could only hope the judicial system would protect her.

Ms Hutchinson's legal team has asked the Swedish man to drop his prosecution - but she still faces a charge of assault and theft despite insisting she wasn't present during the alleged fight

Ms Hutchinson, pictured in Dubai yesterday, is the latest of a number of young Briton to face legal problems in Dubai and incur expensive legal bills as a result
Ms Hutchinson, pictured in Dubai yesterday, is the latest of a number of young Briton to face legal problems in Dubai and incur expensive legal bills as a result

Ms Hutchinson, pictured in Dubai yesterday, is the latest of a number of young Briton to face legal problems in Dubai and incur expensive legal bills as a result

'In the UAE though, the prosecution will generally proceed with a case if the complainant pushes it.

'Asa and her family are under immense pressure and are finding it difficult to understand how such a situation is allowed to proceed while in an apparently modern Middle Eastern country.

'Elsewhere, Asa would have been called as a witness to the dispute whereas in the UAE, she has been treated as a participant.' 

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