From 7 Days (a Dubai free newspaper) 3rd May '09.
An Australian nurse who was deported from Dubai for lifting his middle finger could have been spared jail if he had apologised in person, the Emirati army officer at the centre of the case told 7DAYS.
Officer Khalifa Obaid Khalifa admitted that Australian Darren O’Mullane had said sorry at Bur Dubai police station immediately after lifting his middle finger to him in a road rage incident. However, he said O’Mullane should have apologised in person after things had cooled down.
“He had his lawyer apologise. He had an Arab guy phone me to apologise. He had my number. He could have picked up the phone and said it himself. That would have changed everything,” Khalifa said.
The 28-year-old officer said that at the time of the incident on Sheikh Zayed Road late last year, he had reached the end of his tether with people not abiding by UAE laws or respecting the traditions of the country.
“Other times, I let it go but I have had enough. If he didn’t want to get in trouble, then Darren shouldn’t have done what he did,” he said. “This is not the first time this has happened. I’m fed up with foreigners not respecting the rules and our culture and so I wanted to teach one of them a lesson. “Darren said that night that he had worked in intensive care and was having a bad day. Well, that doesn’t mean he can take it out on me,” Khalifa added.
O’Mullane, who had lived in Dubai for several years, was deported last week after spending 24 days in Dubai Central Jail.
Khalifa said he never expected O’Mullane would be jailed or deported. “It was a bit excessive, but it will teach all westerners that they are in an Islamic country and that they should obey the laws,” he said. “I never went to court to testify. I just made my complaint to the police and let the court deal with it,” he added. Khalifa says he was driving on Sheikh Zayed Road when Darren drove up behind him and flashed at him to speed up. He claims he could not go faster because there were speed cameras ahead. When O’Mullane passed his car, he put his finger up at him.
Khalifa says he followed O’Mullane home to confront him but the Australian swore at him so he decided to make an official complaint against him.