British DJ Grooverider has spoken about his Dubai prison ordeal, describing the experience as “appalling”.
Grooverider, real name Raymond Bingham, was jailed in Dubai in February after being caught with 2.16 grams of marijuana at Dubai Airport in November.
He was pardoned at the end of August as part of a Ramadan amnesty, serving 10 months of a four-year sentence.
In his first interview since his release, Bingham told British broadcaster the BCC he wanted to move on and the ordeal was “water under the bridge” now.
He said he had been caught by a customs inspector at the airport, after arriving to play a gig in the emirate.
The inspector had initially told him he would only be deported after the small piece of marijuana was found in the pocket of his jeans.
However, Bingham was instead taken to Dubai’s deportation jail where inmates informed him that his crime would see him jailed for four years.
"When I heard four years, I kind of dropped a little bit, I nearly fell on the floor," Bingham told the BBC.
He spent four months in the detention centre in conditions he described as "appalling".
"They don't have toilets, they have holes in the ground. There's eight people to a cell and they do treat you all right don't get me wrong, but it's just horrible seeing so many people come in for nothing," he said.
Following his sentence of four years in jail, he was transferred to Dubai's main prison where he remained until he was told of his Ramadan pardon.
“…when it got announced there were people crying and rolling around on the floor. Everybody was excited to finally get out of there. I felt relief just knowing it was coming to an end."
The Radio 1 DJ told the BBC he was looking forward to getting back to work.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.