Editor's Note: As a Redditor pointed out, this story is indeed four years old. But with the other stories around - in particular, the ACLU's cell phone tracking story - we think this is still terrifyingly relevant.
In recent years, Dubai has been the destination for many tourists seeking luxurious beaches, sky-scraping hotels and an up-and-coming club scene. A group called Fair Trials International, however, has pointed out a culture of harsh prison terms stemming from small quantities of drugs and over-the-counter-medicines.
Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has severe drug laws. British tourist Keith Brown learned that recently when he was given four years in Dubai prison for the possession of 0.003g of marijuana.
The 0.003g "trace" was found by Dubai customs officers within the tread of 43 year old Brown's shoe, inside a hand-rolled cigarette. Brown was headed from London to Ethiopia, with a connecting flight in Dubai.
BBC News reports that this isn't the only case of its kind. "British resident Cat Le-Huy was arrested in Dubai for carrying Melatonin jet-lag tablets, which are sold over the counter in the US and Dubai," says the BBC article.
A woman was held in custody for eight weeks until customs accepted that her codeine was doctor-prescribed. Another man is serving a four-year prison term "after three poppy seeds from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow airport were found on his clothes."
Fair Trials International has the most comprehensive list of banned substances in the UAE on their site. The UAE does not publicize lists of banned substances, and with their zero-tolerance policy, Fair Trials International advises you to either have complete documentation for your medication or leave it at home.