Student, 21, is jailed for A YEAR in Dubai after tapping airport security officer on the arm during strip search


A New York business arts student has been jailed for a year in Dubai after she tapped an airport security officer on the arm during a strip search as they checked her medical waist binder and left her half-naked.

Who is Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos?

Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos, 21, who attends Lehman College in the Big Apple was heading to New York from Istanbul with a friend when they were detained during a ten-hour layover at Dubai International Airport on July 14.

But what she thought would be a short stop in the UAE has turned into a months-long nightmare, after airport security was alerted to a brace De Los Santos was wearing with underwiring on it.

She told airport officials she had recently had surgery and was mandated to wear the surgical brace around the clock, according to DailyMail.

She was carted off to a private room and instructed to remove the brace, leaving her semi-naked and feeling ‘violated’.

She was eventually cleared to go, but since she was unable to get the brace back on herself, she ‘gently’ touched one of the female customs officer’s arm to get her friend to help her.

What was Elizabeth Polanco De Los Santos’ crime?

The female officers accused De Los Santos of ‘assaulting and insulting’ them, which Santos denied.

She was forbidden to travel home, and this week was sentenced to a year behind bars despite paying a AED 10,000 ($2,722) fine.

Judges had ordered De Los Santos to pay the fine on August 24, but instead of being allowed on her way, customs officials appealed the sentence.

She has now undergone a months-long ordeal and had to fork out $50,000 to afford accommodation in the expensive nation along with lawyers costs.

Since mid-July, De Los Santos has had to move from one hotel to another and was waiting for court hearings before she learned of her sentence.

It’s unclear where she is currently being held, but Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai, the nonprofit advocating for the young woman’s release, said De Los Santos fears she will be held in the notorious Al Awir prison, and won’t (as promised) be allowed to leave the country.

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The organization has made urgent representations on her behalf.

They have also called on officials to put safeguards in place to prevent any other visitors to the country facing lengthy and unfair detention.

‘People could end up detained in the UAE for years on bogus or minor charges and wants to warn Americans Dubai is ‘a dangerous place to visit,’ Stirling said in a press release.

‘Elizabeth faced degrading, painful and humiliating searches when she transited through the international hub from Istanbul to New York but the nightmare has not ended,’ she said, in part.

‘She’s now been told she has a one year prison sentence, but that if all ‘goes well’, she will only be detained until she can book a flight out of the UAE.’

She said De Los Santos is extremely worried.

‘Even if she is allowed to be deported tomorrow, she will remain in prison until then, not knowing whether there will be further delays or whether in fact, she will end up forced to serve the whole sentence.’

‘This is an extreme situation for a 21 year old to go through,’ she added.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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