Mum jailed in Dubai ‘feared she would be raped’ during ‘nightmare’ ordeal

A mum jailed in Dubai after a visa row says she feared she would be raped after claiming prison guards pulled her hair and spat at her during her "nightmare" ordeal.

Dentist Ellie Holman, from Sevenoaks, Kent, was locked up with her four-year-old daughter Bibi after being held on charges including ‘alcohol abuse’ and travelling without a valid passport.

The 44-year-old was detained after arriving in the United Arab Emirates for a five-day holiday last month.

After landing, she was told her passport was invalid, before she went on to film immigration officers on her mobile phone.

She was then detained at the airport on three charges, which included alcohol abuse after drinking a glass of complimentary wine on her July 13 flight.

Now, the Swedish national, who claims she is now taking anti-anxiety medicine because of the experience, has revealed more details of her traumatic ordeal.

After accepting she was wrong to film immigration officers at the airport, Ellie, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, told the Mail Online : "I now realise that was stupid and I should not have done that.

"But did that really warrant being jailed for three days with my daughter, being spat at and having my hair pulled."

Ellie was placed in a jail with around 30 other female prisoners, who she claims told harrowing details of their time in detention.


She added: "A pregnant woman told me she had been raped while being held in the prison. I feared it could happen to me, but thankfully with Bibi with me all the time nothing occurred."

After being stopped at the airport, Ellie claims she was originally told a transit visa would allow her to stay in the country for the duration of her holiday, before a second officer took over and told her she had to leave the country after Ellie claims they noticed her Iranian passport.

Ellie, a registered dentist who now works as a Botox expert, then claims she became so scared during the immigration process, she began filming.

She added that the guards referred to her as the "Iranian woman" for the duration of her prison stay.

When Ellie and Bibi were originally detained at the airport, Ellie claims they were denied any food and water, and Bibi was forced to urinate on the floor after being refused access to a toilet.


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Along with her three days in Jail, Ellie spent almost a month under house arrest, uncertain of her future after being told she could be waiting up to a year for a court date.

Ellie was finally released on Saturday, August 11, and enjoyed an emotional reunion with her fiancé Gary and three young children, Bibi, Noah and Suri, at Gatwick Airport.

She was greeted by her family with cuddly toys and flowers after the conservative Arab country paid for her flight back to the UK.

The Dubai government also gave Ellie a bunch of flowers and apologised for her ordeal.

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Speaking after being given the all-clear to return to the UK, the dental surgeon said she was pleased her "nightmare is coming to an end".

But the 44-year-old also revealed how she initially thought the news – which she received in a morning phone call – might be a trap.

She said: "I am shocked and excited to be returning home to England and that this nightmare is coming to an end.

"When I answered the phone this morning and was told that I was being let go and needed to collect my passport, I couldn’t believe it and wondered if it was a trap."

An official from Dubai Airport previously stressed Ellie’s arrest was in connection to her filming inside the airport and becoming abusive towards staff.

They said: "UAE law is strict on people recording others on their mobile phone without permission, which will not have helped Dr Holman’s case.

“She became abusive towards airport staff, which is not tolerated."

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