Witham MP joins fight to bring home Essex woman 'trapped in Dubai'
PUBLISHED: 19:21 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:21 02 March 2018
The father of a 22-year-old woman from Essex who has been "trapped" in Dubai for the last 19 months claims her "dream turned into a nightmare" after she was arrested for witnessing a hotel brawl.
Asa Hutchinson’s family say she was not involved in the scuffle between two male friends and a “drunk” Swedish man they were taking selfies with, and simply witnessed what was happening.
However, Miss Hutchinson, originally from Chelmsford, has been accused of theft and assault and now could face jail in the Middle Eastern country. She has had her passport taken and is now stranded in the United Arab Emirates.
Miss Hutchinson’s parents Iain and Lucie are doing everything they can to bring home their daughter and have now met with Witham MP Priti Patel, who said she will press the Foreign Office to do more.
Mr Hutchinson said: “She set off for a fabulous dream and this has really soured it – it has become a nightmare. She was just a witness to what happened.
“They were part of a group she was in celebrating the 60th birthday of her boyfriend’s mum. They were all in a group but a couple pulled away and took a few selfies with the man.
“What has gone on ever since has been beyond belief. She has had her passport taken away and they are still working out how they will deal with her through the judiciary process.
“We are struggling. Both her mother and I are very close to her as is her sister. But all we have got is phone conversations from time to time. We have both been able to go out to see her so she is not left that long without her family.
“It is breaking our hearts. Everyone is able to come home but her, including those involved in the incident.”
Ms Patel said: “I have been making direct representations on behalf of Asa and her family with the Foreign Office, at both the Ministerial level and with civil servants working on this case.
“It is imperative that all sides undertake renewed efforts to engage with one another, in order to remove the current anxiety over Asa’s future, to clear her name from any allegations associated with her and to ensure that she can return to her daily life.”
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed it was in contact with authorities in the United Arab Emirates.