Dubai drops charges against charity-promoting Briton

Dubai drops charges against charity-promoting Briton
2 min read
25 September, 2016
Dubai prosecutors have dropped a criminal case against a British-Australian man suspected of breaching the UAE’s strict laws on charity fundraising.
100 children froze to death during a harsh winter at Qambar refugee camp [AFP]

Dubai prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against a British-Australian man who used social media to highlight the work of an Afghan refugee charity, a local newspaper said on Sunday.

Scott Richards, who moved to Dubai about eight years ago, was arrested on 28 July for allegedly breaching a new law on promoting foreign charities, but he was released on bail last month.

"Dubai Public Prosecution confirmed that no criminal case will proceed," 7Days reported on its website.

"The investigation revealed that what he did was not sufficient to be classed as a crime," his lawyer told the online daily.

Earlier this year, The 42-year-old father of two shared a Facebook post about the US Zwan Family Charity, which was raising funds for the Qambar refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where 100 children froze to death during a harsh winter four-years-ago.

He faced charges that he promoted fundraising without permission from the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities (IACAD).

The country's 2015 law governing charitable activities states that anyone wishing to fundraise in the UAE must have permission from IACAD.

A failure to register can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to Dhs100,000 ($27,226).

Richards came across the charity during a visit to Afghanistan, where he worked as an economic development policy adviser for the government, according to his brother Brett Richards.