British man jailed in Dubai for 'not paying £2 taxi fare'

A British man has told of how a dispute with a taxi driver over an unpaid £2 fare in Dubai saw him jailed and trapped in the country for two years.

David Ballantine, 46, had his passport confiscated and was eventually sentenced to 69 days in prison after an altercation with a Dubai taxi driver in May 2013.

Mr Ballantine, a former Tory politician from Edinburgh, claims is was a simple misunderstanding over a fare he had already paid, and it 'ruined his life'.

Jailed: David Ballantine, 46, from Edinburgh, had his passport confiscated and was eventually sentenced to 69 days in prison after an altercation with a Dubai taxi driver in May 2013

Jailed: David Ballantine, 46, from Edinburgh, had his passport confiscated and was eventually sentenced to 69 days in prison after an altercation with a Dubai taxi driver in May 2013

Mr Ballantine and a group of friends were starting their taxi journey, but immediately asked the driver to stop due to a misunderstanding of who was meant to ride in the cab.

However, he claims the cabbie continued to drive for about 150 feet, and pulled up near a policeman.

The driver complained to the policeman, who told Mr Ballantine that he would have to pay the minimum amount of AED 10 (£2).

Mr Ballantine claims he went to a cashpoint a few feet away, withdrew money and dropped it into the cab window.  

'He [the taxi driver] was waiting for me to pay and when he saw in his mirror that I had walked back to my friends, he reversed the taxi aggressively back to where my group was.

'He accused me of not paying. I told him I had, and showed him where it was. He claimed that was his own money.

'He was angry by now, and not wanting to admit that he could be wrong. The driver just became more and more hostile until he physically attacked me.

Mr Ballantine, pictured in Dubai, had his passport taken upon his arrest to stop him fleeing the country, but as proceedings dragged out over two years, he ended up stuck in Dubai

Mr Ballantine, pictured in Dubai, had his passport taken upon his arrest to stop him fleeing the country, but as proceedings dragged out over two years, he ended up stuck in Dubai

'At this point I became worried. I was in a fight, in Dubai, where I knew the law could be harsh, and I knew the government employed taxi driver would be believed over the Westerner, regardless of evidence.

'I never attacked him back, just avoided him

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