By Alex Glenn •
Published: 10 Mar 2022 • 8:38
Bomb fearing Brit faces jail after refusing to board a plane in Abu Dubai.
Ex-paramedic Steve Long became scared of getting on a flight home to Manchester from Abu Dhabi. He was scared that a bomb was on board the plane. Airport security staff arrested him and he now faces prison.
Steve had worked alongside bomb disposal units as a paramedic for many years. He had worked in both the civilian and military sectors. He was suffering from mental health issues at the time of his arrest.
He was suffering from PTSD and now faces prison unless he can pay a fine of over £100,000. Steve was arrested on January 28.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Steve’s lawyers revealed that he: ”feared there would be a bomb on the plane”.
His lawyers commented: ”He wasn’t making a bad joke – he was in the grips of residual trauma resulting from years of work as a paramedic involved with bomb disposal units”.
The legal experts believe that his mental state ”caused an apparent episode of heightened fear and paranoia, especially because of the drone attacks that were targeting airports in Abu Dhabi”.
Steve’s family is battling to raise money to pay the fine of £103,000. If it cannot be paid, then Steve faces a prison sentence.
Steve’s sister Claire explained: “We’re afraid that my brother is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.
”His behaviour while on holiday was becoming erratic, and we wanted to get him back to the UK.
“The plan was to meet him at the airport on arrival, and take him immediately to hospital.
”Now we don’t know if or when we will see him again.
“The UAE wants him to pay £100,000 or else he will go to prison. We are terrified of what might happen to him if he’s incarcerated.
“My brother is not a criminal. He has spent his life caring for others in the most drastic situations possible.
”He didn’t harm anyone; he was just scared and needed help. If he goes to prison, I’m horrified at what this will do to him.”
Detained in Dubai CEO and founder Radha Stirling stated: “Airport staff could have taken Steve aside and simply talked to him to allay his fears.
“Instead, after Etihad made a criminal complaint, he was arrested and faces a prison sentence. Airline security makes no distinction between threats and passenger concerns about threats; they are treating Steve as though he intended to cause a disruption, when in reality, he was just scared.
“Steve conveyed his fears to staff precisely because he was concerned about safety. Even a brief discussion with him at the time would have revealed his mental state, and the issue could have been resolved on the spot.
“We don’t blame airport staff for reacting with alarm, or for even contacting the police, but the situation snowballed very rapidly when it should not have.
”Steve was literally attending his court hearings from a psychiatric ward, the judge did not take into consideration that he is unwell, and he had no advocate to explain the circumstances.
“Steve does not deserve to be punished; he needs treatment. He has an extensive background dealing with bomb disposal units, and no one can imagine the toll that kind of stress can have on a person.
“Steve does not even recall the incident, which just shows the intensity of the episode he was suffering. We are asking the UAE to show some compassion and let Steve come home where he can get the care he needs.”
Radha went on to add: “If we cannot get Steve home, his condition will undoubtedly deteriorate further, and it will be even harder to recover once he eventually serves his sentence. In other words, if the UAE does not let him come home now, Steve will be paying for this the rest of his life.”
An Etihad spokesperson explained that an investigation is underway. The spokesperson commented: “We can’t comment on an incident that is under investigation by government authorities.
“The safety and security of our passengers and staff is Etihad’s highest priority. Any threat to safety or security is taken extremely seriously and handled in accordance with strict protocols. Governmental investigations or prosecutions are handled by the relevant authorities, not by Etihad.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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