A man has been arrested in Dubai and potentially faces 3 years in prison because he legally smoked marijuana before entering the country...
Which is something that a lot of tourists in Dubai have had to endure over the years.
Because despite it being one of the most popular vacation spots in the United Arab Emirates - fifteen million tourists flock to the elusive city each year - it has many strict laws and customs.
There are many unusual ways in which a tourist can land themselves in trouble with the law in Dubai...
Such as eating or drinking on public transport, carrying foods that contain poppy seeds, and swearing on Whatsapp, as per Culture Trip.
And women, in particular, have to be very careful with how they behave in the UAE.
Although emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are an expat's dream, the UAE remains a Muslim country; therefore, women's rights still conform to Sharia law.
There are many restrictions as to what women can do or wear...
So, outside of their vacation resorts, women are expected to respect Sharia laws and dress codes.
Tourists aren't expected to wear traditional Muslim clothing, but they are still expected to adhear to certain dress codes.
While out in public, men and women alike are required to dress modestly, no matter how hot the climate - this typically includes being covered from the shoulders to the knees.
Tight clothing or see-through items are completely forbidden...
And underwear should be covered at all times.
This dress code applies in public places like malls, cinemas, on the street, supermarkets, in cars, and in hotels; and breaking this dress code or wearing revealing clothing will result in a stern word from security guards or police and, in some instances, a fine.
However, the consumption of drugs will land a tourist in prison...
And this is exactly what an American man is enduring at the moment.
People have been left shocked over the man's treatment in Dubai...
And many have been urging others to not visit the country and instead explore other - and much kinder - places.
Las Vegas resident Peter Clark flew out to Dubai for business on February 24th...
But he unexpectedly fell ill with pancreatitis and was admitted for emergency treatment at a local hospital, where medics took a urine sample to test for drugs.
This is when things turned ugly...
Because Peter had legally smoked marijuana while at home before he traveled and when the doctors found traces of the drug in his urine, they reported him to the police and he was immediately detained.
According to Detained in Dubai, he was handcuffed and taken to Al Barsha police station on March 3rd where he was placed in a detention cell with 3 other men.
But because Peter was still feeling unwell after his illness, he was taken to the Anti-Narcotics unit and put in a cell with at least ten other men arrested for drug possession.
A press release from Detained in Dubai says he was denied medication he'd been given by the hospital, which meant a vein in his left elbow became infected.
It wasn't until March 6th that Peter was released and told to return to his hotel to await contact from the police, but over a month later, he is still in Dubai facing years in prison.
Peter recently issued a statement, saying:
"I was absolutely stunned to learn that I was being charged for having residue marijuana in my system. I smoked it legally back home, long before I ever even got on the plane. I knew about the country's strict drug laws, but never for a moment did I consider that I could be thrown in prison over something I did in America."
"I tried to explain it to the police and be as cooperative as possible, but I'm just being thrown through the system. The moment I went to the hospital, my time in Dubai was ruined, but I didn't realize that was only the start of the nightmare."
Radha Stirling, the founder of Detained in Dubai who is representing Peter, said:
"The UAE's arbitrary enforcement of laws and lack of predictable legal outcomes means that Peter potentially faces years in prison for legally smoking marijuana. Even if found innocent, he can be dragged through a slow and costly legal process."
"Visitors to Dubai who have planned for a short stay holiday can end up embroiled in a system that will easily cost them $50,000 - $100,000 in hotels and legal fees but some outcomes are even worse."
"Corrupt police informants have been used by the prosecution to upgrade possession cases to that of drug dealing, which carries a life sentence. British national and military veteran Andy Neal, was jailed for more than a year on false drug dealing allegations, before finally being exonerated after our Detained in Dubai campaign," he explained.
Stirling believes that Dubai's prosecution rules are simply "unfair."
"Arresting someone for smoking marijuana in their own country, weeks before they even entered the UAE, is unfairly persecuting tourists who have behaved well within Dubai itself. The U.S State Department needs to revise travel warnings to Americans who could end up arbitrarily detained."
Let's hope that Peter is able to come home soon...
And that people's eyes will soon be opened about how risky it is to travel to a country such as Dubai.