A British tourist is facing six months in prison in Dubai after giving the middle finger during a row with a motorist. Jamil Mukadam, 23, said he flashed the sign, viewed as a public obscenity in the United Arab Emirates, after getting into an argument with another driver near the Dubai Financial Centre in February.
The Leicester man was arrested after returning to Dubai this month and then detained for two days at the notorious Bur Dubai police station. The Brit said he spent two days in a cell crammed with more than 170 crooks and was forced to sleep on the floor.
The IT worker has now been bailed but can't leave the United Arab Emirates before his court appearance as police have confiscated his passport.
He is now in a £60-a-night hotel awaiting a court hearing after his wife, Dilshad, was forced fly back to Leicester alone. Mukadam said he was in a hire car when the incident took place earlier this year on the way to the airport.
"I was driving to the airport with my wife and this guy was up behind me flashing his lights," he told The Sun.
"I pulled over and they were screaming at me. I stuck my finger up, drove off and thought nothing of it. But when I came back to Dubai and through passport control there was a loud beeping sound and, within seconds, I was surrounded by police.
Running out of cash
"Now I can't leave my hotel because I don't have my passport and I'll run out of money by the end of the week," he added.
The Foreign Office said: "We are assisting a British man detained in Dubai."
The lobby group Detained in Dubai is appealing for the charges to be dropped. Its founder Radha Stirling said it has dealt with a number of road rage cases in the past where expats find themselves facing criminal charges for gestures made in frustration that are common in their own countries.
The hand gesture is considered a public obscenity crime and carries a jail sentence of not less than six months, or a fine, with many foreigners being imprisoned on similar charges. If Mukadam is found guilty he has two weeks to appeal the decision in a bid to reduce the sentence.
Mukadam is not the first Briton to end up in the Dubai court system after a heated argument with another driver on the Kingdom's roads. In May 2011 a UK surgeon Joseph Nunoo-Mensah was detained in Dubai after being accused of a making a rude gesture at another driver through the window of his car.
The consultant surgeon at King's College Hospital - who said he merely raised his hand - had his passport confiscated when he was charged with "public indecency". He was later released after paying a fine.