Peter Clark, 51, was arrested in Dubai in February days after smoking marijuana legally in Las Vegas. Now, he is on a no-fly-list and cannot leave the UAE until prosecutors decide whether or not to charge him
A businessman who legally smoked marijuana at home in Las Vegas before flying to Dubai now finds himself facing three years in jail on a drugs charge.
Peter Clark was arrested after traces of the drug showed up in his system when he was admitted to hospital for emergency treatment.
Clark is a retired games designer who previously worked on popular Xbox and Playstation games. He said he wants to branch out into something ‘new’, so flew to Dubai on February 24 to scout recording studio locations.
He had last smoked marijuana days before flying from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a business trip in the United Arab Emirates.
Clark, 51, had only been in Dubai for one day when he fell ill with pancreatitis and was rushed to hospital.
Nurses took a urine sample which showed traces of the drug marijuana. As required by Dubai law they informed the police of the results.
Clark, a retired computer games designer from Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested and thrown in jail for three days.
Since being released he has been forced to stay in his hotel while awaiting a decision from prosecutors if they will charge him.
Clark said he was fully aware of Dubai’s zero tolerance policy on drugs and had not bought or taken any after arriving on February 24th to look at recording studios.
He told Mail Online: ’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.
‘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.’
Peter fell ill the day after arriving in Dubai for a business trip to assess setting up a recording studio in the country.
He received emergency treatment in hospital and the day before being discharged was asked to provide a urine sample.
The Al Barsha police station in Dubai where Clark was detained in February
After the test came back positive for a banned substance police arrived at his bedside, handcuffed him and transported him to the Al Barsha police station.
While being held in jail, a vein where an IV line had been placed as part of his treatment became infected and antibiotics he had been prescribed were not handed over by prison staff.
After being freed he was repeatedly summoned to a police station and told he would have his passport returned.
Clark now is stuck in Dubai. He has obtained a lawyer
But instead, he was questioned over the drugs in his system with his pleas of innocence ignored.
The retired computer games designer is on a ‘no fly list’ and cannot leave the country until prosecutors decide if he should face a court.
Peter said: ’This has just turned into a complete nightmare. I never thought by going to hospital I would end up being thrown in a jail.
‘I have not done anything wrong.’
Peter, who was involved in the design of popular games for Play stations and Xbox, has obtained legal representation.
The US Embassy in Dubai have also been informed of his arrest.
The pressure group Detained in Dubai, who assist many visitors who fall foul of Dubai’s strict laws, have also taken up his case.
Founder Radha Sterling said: ’The UAE’s arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes means that Peter faces years in prison for legal smoking marijuana.
‘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.’
Sterling added that it was vital for the US Embassy in Dubai to get involved.
She said: ‘The US State Department needs to ensure that its citizens who visit the UAE are safe from legal abuse.’
Detained in Dubai were previously involved in trying to help secure the release of a former British soldier who found himself charges with drug offences.
Andy Neal spent more than a year stranded in Dubai on false charges before they were finally dropped and he could return to the UK.