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Arrested for Swearing in Dubai



Australian visitor detained in Dubai after responding with swearing to an aggressive undercover police officer.


32 year old Sun McKay from Adelaide, Australia was travelling to Dubai.  As a result of Sun’s military work, he had been to Dubai many times and knew the drill.  On this occasion though, he was roughly grabbed and yelled at in Arabic by a person in plain clothes.  Sun was surprised at this harassment and responded with “what the f**k?”  Later, the man identified himself as being an undercover officer, at which point Sun apologised but this was not enough.  Sun was interrogated, his passport confiscated and he now lingers in Dubai, awaiting the results of a hearing that could send him to jail for 3 years as well as possible fines.


Sun tried to apologise and appeal to the Airport Policeman, Mr Hussain Redar Al Shoubani to drop the charges.  Sun was simply startled as all of us would be, after being grabbed by what appeared to be a random stranger, perhaps who was trying to hurt him or steal from him.  He had no idea what was going on.  Having visited and worked in middle eastern countries before, Sun is very respectful of Arabic culture and religion and would never intentionally disrespect authority.  He did not intend to cause any offense, did not swear at the policeman directly and hopes that the Police Officer involved will show some understanding, drop the charges and let him return to his family in Australia where his family anxiously await.  Sun works as a Security Officer to help build and construct Afghanistan and a medic to provide health and medical aid to the people.  He is a caring and genuine man, loved and missed by his family and friends.


27th of September, 2009 and beyond:


  • Regular traveller to Dubai, Mr McKay had cleared through customs as usual


  • Sun turned to use the ATM inside Terminal 1


  • Sun was unexpectedly grabbed by a man in plain clothes and yelled at in Arabic


  • Sun in his surprise responded to this by saying “what the f**k?”


  • Sun then tried to apologise once the man identified himself as a Police Officer


  • Sun was then interrogated for 3 hours


  • Sun’s passport was confiscated


  • Sun was charged with using insulting and inappropriate language to a police officer but was not imprisoned


  • Sun is now awaiting his hearing


  • Sun has already been held in Dubai for 5 weeks and at least another 5 are expected


  • Sun has already incurred thousands in legal fees and is considering his legal options





  • Holding someone in a country for extensive periods of time is expensive and emotionally draining


  • Lawyers in the UAE charge extortionate amounts for their fees


  • Foreigners face lengthy sentences for what Westerners consider slight indiscretions, regardless of the situation


Current Action:


Detained in Dubai have assisted with introductions to trusted & competent legal advice as well as liaising with relevant government bodies to seek assistance to achieve a favourable outcome.


Volunteers & friends of Sun are assisting with press and support campaigns.


Staff at Detained in Dubai are helping to raise awareness of judicial issues in the Emirate of Dubai to prevent more people being churned through the impossibly backward legal system.




After months in the UAE on bail, our legal team secured Sun’s release.



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