American faces Dubai imprisonment over 'marijuana smoked in US'

American faces Dubai imprisonment over 'marijuana smoked in US days before UAE flight'
2 min read
13 April, 2021
Peter Clarke, 51, was arrested in February after being rushed to hospital while suffering from pancreatitis.
Clarke remains in Dubai due to being placed on a 'no fly' list [Getty]
An American businessman is facing up to four years in prison in Dubai over a drug test that reportedly revealed he had smoked cannabis days before he landed in the UAE in February.

Peter Clark, 51, admitted that he had smoked the drug before entering the country - which is legalised for recreational use in his native Las Vegas. Clark says he did not bring any marijuana to the UAE, having been aware of the country's strict narcotics laws.

"I was absolutely stunned to learn that I was being charged due to residual marijuana in my system. I smoked it legally back in America long before I even got on the plane," Clarke told the Mail Online news website.

"I knew about Dubai's strict drugs laws but never for one moment did I think something I legally did in my own country would lead to my arrest."

The former games designer had set off for Dubai to scout for recording studios, however fell ill with pancreatitis just hours after landing in the emirate. After being rushed to hospital, a urine sample was taken revealing his use of marijuana.

Under Dubai laws, positive drug tests must be reported to authorities by medical staff.

Despite Clark's claim that the drug was smoked outside of the country, Dubai's strict narcotics laws consider even trace amounts of marijuana in a person's body as 'possession'.

Shortly after the positive result, police reportedly arrived at the hospital and shackled Clark to a hospital bed. He was then transferred to Dubai's Al-Barsha detention centre, where he was held for several days.

Clark is currently on a "no fly list" and cannot leave Dubai until prosecutors decide whether he should face trial

UK-based detainee support charity Detained in Dubai have urged the US embassy in Dubai to assist Clark in his case.

"The UAE’s arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes means that Peter faces years in prison for legal smoking marijuana," Detained in Dubai founder Radha Sterling was quoted by the Mail as saying.

"Even if found innocent he can be dragged through a slow a costly legal process... Corrupt police informants have been used by the prosecution to upgrade possession charges to that of drug dealing."

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