For a Bounced Check in Dubai, the Penalty Can Be Years Behind Bars

Robert F. Worth in the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 12 19.22 Bouncing a check is a criminal offense here. That fact has begun raising questions about the fairness of Dubai’s laws, especially among the foreigners who make up about 90 percent of the population.

Consider the tale of Ali Fariq, a 33-year-old Iraqi real estate agent now serving a three-year jail term. Mr. Fariq says his ordeal in the Dubai legal system began last year when he was kidnapped and beaten by a diplomat who blamed him for an investment deal gone sour.

The diplomat, an Iraqi named Birhan al-Yacoubi, then forced Mr. Fariq — and later, his brother — to sign checks totaling $600,000, he said. She did not want the money; she knew they did not have it. Instead, she drove the men to a police station, where she presented the freshly signed checks as evidence of fraud, court records show.

More here.