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Wed 11 May 2011 06:50 PM

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UK surgeon says he is 'hostage' in Dubai road rage row

Dr Joseph Nunoo-Mensah told he could face six months in jail if found guilty; hearing set for June 20

UK surgeon says he is 'hostage' in Dubai road rage row
Dr Nunoo-Mensah, a surgeon at Kings College Hospital London, has been held in Dubai over a row with another motorist.
UK surgeon says he is 'hostage' in Dubai road rage row
Dr Nunoo-Mensah said driving in Dubai was "completely different" to the UK.

The top London surgeon at the centre of a road rage incident in Dubai said on Wednesday he felt like a "hostage in the system" after failing to get his passport back.

Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, a consultant surgeon at King's College Hospital, said he was not able to return home to the UK even though his hearing is not scheduled until June 20.

He has been charged with public indecency following an altercation with a motorist to whom he is alleged to have made a rude gesture.

In a phone interview with the UK's 5 Live radio station, he said the British Consulate had told him others on similar charges in the past had been jailed for up to six months.

He said his lawyer had failed in a bid to recover his passport so he could go home and then return to Dubai to face the trial next month.

"I feel I'm a hostage in the system where I can't be allowed to have my own rights to freedom, my rights to family and my rights to be able to work for a crime that is one person's word against another," he said in the interview.

He added: "There is a completely different driving style here. It's very fast and they will tailgate you, they will push you out of the way."

The British national, who said he was tailgated by a car flashing its lights on April 25, is accused of making a rude gesture to the driver.

Denying he raised a finger at the other driver, he said: "I raised both hands to say what do you want from us. He was harrassing us on the motorway.

"It was very intimidating...I was just looking for a way to get out of his [the other driver's] way," he said, adding that he was concerned for the safety of his wife and three children who were also in the car.

His wife Alison, who also took part in the interview from the family home near Manchester, said her husband was very upset about the situation.

"I find it very distressing to hear my husband so upset. It's very upsetting for me. The problem that we have at home is that we don't know if everything will be resolved at the hearing on June 20. It's the not knowing that is the most worrying thing," she told the radio station.

Nunoo-Mensah said the police officer who interviewed him was "very amicable" and had tried to get the case resolved but the other driver had insisted on charges being brought.

Nunoo-Mensah was in the UAE with his family at the invitation of US healthcare group Cleveland Clinic, which is building a medical centre in the Gulf state’s capital.

Making offensive hand gestures is illegal in the UAE and can lead to a jail term.

The case is the latest documenting the arrest of British nationals in the UAE, following a spate of arrests relating to crimes such as the illegal consumption of alcohol and inappropriate behaviour.

The British Embassy said in 2009 that Brits were more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.

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Fahad 9 years ago

Too bad for the doctor. He should not have blocked another drivers way and he shouldnt have raised his hands. When will Brits and other foreigners learn that the Arab World places a great importance on politeness and civil behavior. The reason Arabs well behaved when compared to many others is because obscene loutish behavior prevalent elsewhere is not tolerated here, be it from a doctor or from a laborer.
I would rather some doctor faces inconvenience rather than turn the Gulf into UK where rowdy kids rule the streets and no one can do anything in peace

DH 9 years ago

I regularly experience unnecessary and dangerous tailgating. I’d like to ask Fahad how polite he thinks it is to be flashing lights and tailgating in the first place? Does traveling at 180km and causing 200 car pile-ups seem civil?

Dod 9 years ago

Fahad, is it polite and civil to drive aggressively, tailgate and intimidate a visitor driving with his wife and children?

Toby 9 years ago

Mr Fahad: You said that "the Arab World places a great importance on politeness and civil behavior". You seem to be in awe of this 'polite' gentleman deliberately intimidating a man his wife and his children whilst driving. So from this we learn that this gentleman's ego is far more important than the safety of wife and children.
Back to the real word: I have been overwhelmed by the respect, decency and politeness shown to me by my hosts, the Emiratis, over the last 20 years. I thank God everyday for this blessing.

civil 9 years ago

Nonsense! To me he is an innocent driver who was the victim of a wild/brash/rude/impolite/spoilt kid who thinks the road belongs to him. We all know how some people who drive tailgate and force people to pull out of the way while flashing rudely. Would one call that politeness and civil behaviour? Eh?

BigH 9 years ago

So you don't class tailgating and light flashing as "loutish" behavior? It's certainly not very "polite" behaviour is it? Or maybe you think it is? Hmmm!
Actually Fahad,this week in the UAE the police announced fines and black points on your license for doing just that, so that doesn't fit your argument too well does it?
These comments lay bear the differences in mindset that exist between drivers - here on the road it seems to be "get out of my way - my car's faster than yours!" whereas us Brits (boooo - hiss!!!) tend to have a more laid back approach.

Jerry 9 years ago

i'm not sure when it became polite and civil behaviour to endanger the lives of men, women and children on the roads of our otherwise safe country. dangerous driving is an offence in the UAE and i'm sure you and all others agree that those who perpetrate crimes should be punished, not the victims.

Dubai Resident 9 years ago

Fahad
Whereas I agree with you fully on your points on the laws in this region relating to politeness and civil behaviour I must disagree with the tone in which you have sided with the other driver as if he did nothing wrong. Do you think that endless tailgating, flashing lights and trying to run somebody off the road is an example of "politeness and civil behaviour"?

Jake 9 years ago

Once again, I must point out that you got your priorities pretty mixed up. Wherein it is acceptable to harass a family on the road and endangering the life's of wife and children, it is totally intolerable to scratch ones pride.

Because it is nothing but that, pride. I need to drive faster than you, I need to be ahead, get out of my way you there with your cheap rental car.

Common Sense 9 years ago

You are in another world Fahad. The rude, flashing, tailgating driver with the child on his lap should go unpunished then? A wrong verdict here could have terrible consequences with tailgaters reporting drivers who just happen to be in their way at random.