British cancer patient stranded in Dubai over Facebook 'charity-post'

British cancer patient stranded in Dubai over Facebook 'charity-post'
A British woman who was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer has been stranded in Dubai after authorities confiscated her passport for allegedly attempting to raise charity donations on social media.
3 min read
03 February, 2017
Luisa Williams was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer [YouTube]
A 41-year-old British woman suffering from cancer was stranded in Dubai after UAE authorities refused to hand over her passport so she could travel back to the UK for urgent medical treatment.
Luisa Williams was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer two weeks ago but could not return home as her passport had been confiscated by Dubai police over a year ago, after she was held in a legal battle over a Facebook post.

Williams, founder of Volunteer in UAE and Babies Behind Bars – one of 12 humanitarian initiatives she ran under the VIUAE umbrella – had lived in the UAE for 10 years. She was challenged over a Facebook post 'raising money' to save two children.

On Wednesday, she took to social media to plead that she is allowed to return to the UK for medical treatment.  

"I'm internally bleeding. The cancer is on the outer edge of my kidney – it could burst any minute," she posted on Facebook.

"I'm pleading to be allowed to go home to enable me to have life saving surgery. I have accepted the law of the UAE but need my passport returned before I die in a country that is not my own," she said.

Last year, Williams took to Facebook to announce that she was looking for volunteers for an event as part of her voluntary social care group.

She was immediately arrested on charges of allegedly raising donations via social media, according to the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE (ICFUAE).

"This is not the first time that a British citizen is held in the UAE for allegedly raising money for charity," Maria Di Lenna, project coordinator at ICFUAE said in a statement.

Last year, Scott Richard spent almost one month in a Dubai prison after he was arrested over a Facebook post promoting US-based crowd funding campaign for refugees in Afghanistan.

"The UAE's repressive policies and flawed judicial system have affected numerous Emiratis and non-Emiratis alike," Di Lenna said, urging the British government for action.

"These cases have consistently been ignored by the UK government which continues to build stronger financial and political ties with the UAE despite the serious concerns for the lack of human rights in the country."

Last year, a British woman who alleged she was raped was close to facing charges of extramarital sex by authorities in Dubai before prosecutors dropped the case in November.

In 2008, two Britons were convicted of sex on the beach, while a British mother-of-two and her alleged lover were jailed for adultery after being reported by the estranged husband.

Home to luxurious resorts and a lively nightlife, Dubai has become a popular destination for tourists, many of whom are unaware of the strict Islamic rules applied in courts.

The emirate is also home to a large foreign population.