Burdett man gets 30 days in jail
DUBAI—Burdett resident and Watkins Glen graduate Adam Foster was sentenced to 30 days in jail, May 19, by a Dubai judge after being charged with stealing a pair of police handcuffs in the United Arab Emirates.
Foster originally faced up to seven years in prison. In response to the event, Watkins Glen teacher Kate LaMoreaux pushed to get community members to send letters of support to the ambassador, federal and state representatives. Dundee school graduate Steve Wicker said Foster also attended kindergarten in Dundee. He said the two were friends and he has also written letters in support of Foster.
On a Facebook group page, Foster said he arrived in the UAE Jan. 24 of this year to help the Dubai Water Authority install gas turbines designed to provide much needed electricity. He said on Feb. 25, the day he was scheduled to fly home, he found a pair of handcuffs lying on the ground of a parking lot. Foster said he picked them up without thinking and put them in his bag. Foster was asked about the handcuffs when the luggage went through the x-ray scanner at the airport.
“The guards then took me into the security room for questioning and I explained where I found the handcuffs. They informed me that the handcuffs were police-issued (something I was completely unaware of up until this point). The security guards wrote-up a report in Arabic and told me that I would be let go if I signed it. As I had reason to believe them, I signed the report,” said Foster. However, he missed his flight.
He said he got another flight two hours later, but after boarding the plane the same guards as before took him off the plane. He said he was accused of stealing the handcuffs the day prior. Foster explained he and three colleagues had been questioned at a police station the day before his flight for having two 10 oz. bottles of Korean wine in his trunk. He said the wine was given as a gift.
During the questioning, Foster said he was able to text his girlfriend and told her to contact the U.S. Embassy. He added that he was next taken to the police station from the previous day.
“I was led into a small room, no larger than a closet. Approximately 15 other men were sitting on the floor, each one handcuffed to his neighbor. I was added to the end of the chain,” he said. “Every hour, a different officer came to get me and made me tell him what had happened. I calmly explained to each one. After 12 hours of intermittent questioning, they finally took me into a room, cuffed my hands tightly behind my back and sat me down on a chair.”
Foster explained his feet were then beaten and he was told to confess to stealing the handcuffs. He said, “I yielded. I was scared for my life.” He was then given a confession to sign, which he said was not in English.
Foster said he then spent four to five days in a jail under “squalid” conditions. After discussing his case with a lawyer Foster said he decided he would plead not guilty to the crime. He added after meeting with the prosecutor’s office, he was let out on bail until the May 19 court date.