NYC College Student Released After Being Sentenced To 1 Year In Dubai Prison Over Airport Incident

by Deeplata Garde
NYC College Student Released After Being Sentenced To 1 Year In Dubai Prison Over Airport Incident

In a recent turn of events, a 21-year-old college student from New York City has now been released from UAE prison. Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos had been sentenced to a year in prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over an incident at a Dubai airport. Let the story unfold!

NYC College Student Freed After Dubai Airport Altercation

Pic Creds: Media Library

The incident that led to Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos’ imprisonment occurred during her 10-hour layover at Dubai International Airport on July 14. She was on her way back to New York from a trip to Istanbul with a friend. De Los Santos, who had recently undergone surgery, was asked by airport customs officials to remove her medical waist trainer suit, which she wore around her waist, stomach, and upper chest. After complying with the request, she sought assistance from the female customs officers to put the compressor back on, but her requests were met with silence.

In an attempt to get the officer’s attention, De Los Santos gently touched one of the female customs officers on the arm to guide her out of the way of the security curtain. This action led to her detention on charges of touching a customs officer.

Also Read: Now Pay Your Traffic Fines To Dubai Police With Zero-Interest Plans

Legal Proceedings

Dubai Airport
Pic Creds: Canva Stock Images

De Los Santos signed documents in Arabic and was permitted to leave the airport. However, when she returned from her flight to the U.S., she was informed that a travel ban had been imposed on her. Subsequently, on August 24, she was fined 10,000 dirhams (approximately $2,700) by the judges. Customs officials, dissatisfied with the sentence, appealed, leading to her one-year prison sentence.

Detained in Dubai, an advocacy organization that aids foreign nationals facing detention and prosecution in the UAE took up De Los Santos’ case. They argued that the authorities either intended to imprison her or were pressuring her to make a compensatory payment.

The U.S. State Department also became involved, acknowledging the sentencing of De Los Santos. Principal Deputy Spokesperson Verdant Patel stated that the department is in touch with her and her family. He further added that they’re going to continue to monitor her case and be involved.

After months of legal proceedings and advocacy efforts, Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos has finally regained her freedom. The specifics of her release have not yet been disclosed.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva Stock Images
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